Supporting nursing students with dyslexia in clinical practice
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Supporting nursing students with dyslexia in clinical practice

Jean White Nursing officer, Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, Welsh Assembly Government, Cathay’s Park, Cardiff

Aims To determine whether pre-registration nursing students with dyslexia experience specific problems in developing clinical competence, identify what strategies they use and how they may be supported in clinical practice.

Method Qualitative case study methodology was used. Stage 1 involved semi-structured interviews with seven students, three support and eight teaching staff, postal questionnaires from nine mentors, in addition to a review of policy documentation. Stage 2 involved a two-year study of four students on their branch programme and included semi-structured interviews with seven mentors.

Findings The students’ difficulties in clinical practice fell into three categories: dealing with information; performing the role; and administering drugs. Specific supporting measures included: informal and formal support networks; portable information technology equipment; and personal strategies, for example, rehearsing difficult tasks such as the handover report. The students’ relationships with their mentors and the type of environment they were working in were key to the successful development of clinical competence.

Conclusion Nursing students who have dyslexia have specific learning difficulties in practice. Their response to these difficulties is individual and support needs to be tailored to meet their specific needs.

Nursing Standard. 21, 19,35-42. doi: 10.7748/ns2007.01.21.19.35.c4506

Correspondence

jean.white@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review