More on belongingness

Last week I mentioned the importance of belongingess.  this blog, also from the archive provides a different perspective on the topic. Although the references are now old, the content is still relevant for new members to teams.

From the archive:

Clinical facilitation is a complex role. Findings from research and the literature describe students’ self‑concept, degree of self‑efficacy, confidence, resilience, willingness to question or conform to poor practice, career decisions, capacity and motivation to learn were all impacted by the extent to which they experienced belongingness (Levett-Jones, Lathlean, Higgins, McMillan 2008). Similarly the findings from Report of the Making Connections in Aged Care, Preceptor Project also  highlighted that the student nurses also had a very positive experience when they felt welcomed. This was significant because on entry to the workplace they reported being extremely anxious.  Furthermore, the students indicatedthat the critical element in being welcomed was the positive, affirming and accepting attitude of their preceptors. Levett-Jones et al (2008) indicated there was a postive relationship between the capacity and motivation for learning by students and belongingness.

While extending a warm welcome may seem to reflect common sense, the literature does not emphasise such activities. However, in the context of the Making Connections project the students made it abundantly clear that feeling accepted was instrumental in facilitating ongoing communication, thereby promoting an environment conducive to a productive learning experience. This was evident in the speed at which the students became more confident and felt comfortable in identifying and expressing learning needs. An important role for preceptors in assisting students to make this transition is recognising the importance of having a knowledge of the student’s background and acknowledging that a key function of preceptors  is to assist students to ‘make sense’ of their experiences.  The findings also illustrated the importance of preceptors taking a proactive role in ensuring that staff are appropriately prepared, understand the students’ learning needs, and understand their role in facilitating a positive learning experience.

Other factors that contributed positively to students included recognising that students have different backgrounds and learning needs, and preceptors solicit this information, and structure their teaching in response. Clinical facilitators need to be aware that novice students entering a new facility are highly anxious and will often feel most comfortable to begin their experience in an observational role. However, preceptors should also be sensitive to the students’ developing competence and confidence, and structure their facilitation in response (Robinson,Cubit, Francis, Bull, Crack and Webber 2002).

Ensuring your students are made to feel welcome, will improve their capacity and motivation for learning, reduce their anxiety, and assist you to develop a learning environment with them.




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