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New models to support the professional education of health visitors: A qualitative study of the role of space and place in creating ‘community of learning hubs’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume54
Early online date30 Apr 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017

King's Authors

Abstract

Background In response to a policy-driven workforce expansion in England new models of preparing health visitors for practice have been implemented. ‘Community of Learning hubs’ (COLHs) are one such model, involving different possible approaches to student support in clinical practice placements (for example, ‘long arm mentoring’ or ‘action learning set’ sessions). Such models present opportunities for studying the possible effects of spatiality on the learning experiences of students and newly qualified health visitors, and on team relationships more broadly. Objectives To explore a ‘community of learning hub’ model in health visitor education and reflect on the role of space and place in the learning experience and professional identity development of student health visitors. Design Qualitative research conducted during first year of implementation. Settings Three ‘community of learning hub’ projects based in two NHS community Trusts in London during the period 2013–2015. Participants Managers and leads (n = 7), practice teachers and mentors (n = 6) and newly qualified and student health visitors (n = 16). Methods Semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews analysed thematically. Results Participants had differing views as to what constituted a ‘hub’ in their projects. Two themes emerged around the spaces that shape the learning experience of student and newly qualified health visitors. Firstly, a generalised need for a ‘quiet place’ which allows pause for reflection but also for sharing experiences and relieving common anxieties. Secondly, the role of physical arrangements in open-plan spaces to promote access to support from more experienced practitioners. Conclusions Attention to spatiality can shed light on important aspects of teaching and learning practices, and on the professional identities these practices shape and support. New configurations of time and space as part of educational initiatives can surface new insights into existing practices and learning models.

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