Nursing students' first placement: peripherality and marginality within the community of practice

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BACKGROUND: A nursing student's first placement is a significant and influential experience that can be a factor in attrition from nursing education programs.
METHOD: The first placement experiences of 17 nursing students at a Scottish university were collected through semistructured individual interviews or focus groups. The resultant transcripts were analyzed from the perspective of communities of practice using deductive content analysis.
RESULTS: Students' peripheral position within the communities of practice they encounter on placement can support learning. However, it can also leave them at risk of marginalization, which may have a detrimental effect on their emerging identity as nursing students. The central roles of mentors and liaison lecturers in supporting student participation within the community of practice are apparent.
CONCLUSION: Student experiences of peripherality and marginality highlight opportunities for practice settings and universities to better prepare and support students during their first placement. [J Nurs Educ. 2017;56(1):31–38.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nursing Education
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • nursing students
  • work placement
  • community of practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Nursing


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