Assistant grade nurses and nursing students: a diary study
Intended for healthcare professionals
Education Previous     Next

Assistant grade nurses and nursing students: a diary study

Mark Gillespie Mental health nurse lecturer, School of Health and Nursing, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Ian Rivers Professor, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Background Little is known about the role of the assistant grade nurse in the clinical development of pre-registration nursing students during their practice placements; even less is known about this relationship in the mental health field.

Aim To explore the relationship between assistant grade nurses and mental health nursing students.

Methods Using a phenomenological approach, diaries of nine participants – three nursing students, three assistant grade nurses and three mentors – helped to inform semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings Students recognised that a substantial percentage of their practice was supervised by assistant grade nurses. There was also a clear connection between assistant grade nurse supervision and the delivery of direct care.

Conclusion This study has confirmed the existence of a more extensive educational relationship between assistant grade nurses and mental health nursing students than had previously been recognised.

Mental Health Practice. 21, 3, 21-25. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2017.e1227


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Write for us

For information about writing for RCNi journals, contact

For author guidelines, go to

Received: 08 November 2016

Accepted: 22 June 2017

Want to read more?

Already have access? Log in


3-month trial offer for £5.25/month

Subscribe today and save 50% on your first three months
RCNi Plus users have full access to the following benefits:
  • Unlimited access to all 10 RCNi Journals
  • RCNi Learning featuring over 175 modules to easily earn CPD time
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Revalidation Portfolio to stay on track with your progress
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
  • A customisable dashboard with over 200 topics

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now

Are you a student? Our student subscription has content especially for you.
Find out more