The views of different categories of nurses on clinical supervision in the South African Military Health Services (SAMHS)
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In the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) clinical supervision is the responsibility of both the nurse educator and the professional nurse. However, the insufficiency of clinical departments in the military service triggered the researcher’s interest in how clinical supervision is experienced by the different nursing categories. The objectives of the study were to determine the views of nurse educators, professional nurses, nursing students and pupil enrolled nurses with regard to clinical supervision in the SAMHS and to formulate recommendations for improving clinical supervision based on the results. The following research question was evaluated: How do the different categories of nurses view clinical supervision in the South African Military Health Services? The research methodology constituted a non-experimental descriptive exploratory design with a quantitative approach. Self-administered questionnaires were used for data collection. The population comprised of nurse educators, professional nurses, nursing students and pupil enrolled nurses employed in the SAMHS. A random sampling technique was used and all students available at the time of data collection were included in the study. The final sample of nursing students and pupil enrolled nurses was n=148 (56%:264) of a total population of 264 students and the sample size of nurse educators and professional nurses was n=136 (20%:691). Prior to commencement of the research, approval for conducting the study was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), the Military Health Ethics Committee, the Chief Executive Officers of the various military hospitals, the Commanding Officer of the SAMHS nursing colleges, the Officers in Charge of each nursing college as well as the respondents who participated in the study. Data for the study was collected in a four-week period, the first of which took place at 3 Military Hospital. The second week saw data collection at 2 Military Hospital and the nursing college in Cape Town. The last two weeks were spent at 1 Military Hospital and the nursing college in Thaba Tshwane. The ethical principles stated in the proposal were strictly adhered to as the research involved human respondents. The respondents were asked to complete questionnaires voluntarily and they were assured that their participation and the information they provided would not be used against them. They were also assured of their right to confidentiality and anonymity. Anonymity was preserved by not revealing any of the names of the respondents who took part in the research study. Confidentiality was ensured by denying unauthorised access to data. Respondents were informed of their right to withdraw from the study at any stage. Each complete questionnaire was coded, before a biostatistician of the UFS’s Department of Biostatistics assisted with the data analysis. Descriptive statistics measures such as frequency and percentage distributions were obtained. A conceptual framework of three dimensions, namely the clinical supervision prerequisites, the core of clinical supervision and the outcomes of clinical supervision were used to guide the discussion in Chapter 2 on clinical supervision. Certain recommendations were made. Some of these included that clinical supervision should be given priority and that the appointment of clinical mentors and preceptors and the establishment of clinical departments in the SAMHS should be investigated. Nurse educators and professional nurses should be jointly responsible for clinical teaching and support of students in the clinical learning environment. Furthermore, it is recommended that nurse educators should provide professional nurses with a structured clinical supervision programme and that formal written contracts between nurse educators and students be drawn up. The supernumerary status of students needs to be maintained, and, lastly, the nurse-educator student ratio needs to be adjusted.