Since the decision to transfer nurse education to tertiary institutions in 1984, there have been many follow up inquiries to assess if the issues around training, including the inadequate preparation for the stresses of work, had in fact been addressed. This paper aims to highlight a range of specific strategies explored and implemented during the delivery of a Bachelor of Nursing program in an attempt to improve the retention of Indigenous nursing students and to generate a more enhanced educational preparation for future nursing students.
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in Australia’s Northern Territory and drawing on previous research about aspects of reality shock (identified by neophyte graduate nurses), that is; too much theory, not enough opportunity to practice clinical skills and insufficient mentoring.
Indigenous Australian nursing students studying at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education campus, in Australia’s Northern Territory between 2006 and 2008.
Ten years after the transition from hospital based to tertiary sector training, the 1994 National Review of Nurse Education in the Higher Education Sector, (presented by Reid et al), acknowledged that the undergraduate curriculum was constrained by the time demands required to cover clinical education and nursing subjects. The committee suggested that the (then) changing health care environment, and in particular the health care of Indigenous Australians, would necessitate an increase in time allocation in some schools of nursing lack of time should never be an excuse for failing to address student needs, such as the broadest possible exposure to, and repeated practice of, key clinical skills.
A nursing curriculum focused on incorporating maximum clinical practice hours both on and off campus; limiting the time between translating theory into practice; implementing intensive theory delivery and developing a hospital based mentoring program provides solutions to reducing much of the reality shock experienced by new graduate nurses.