Students' perspectives of using the hub and spoke model to support and develop learning in practice

Laura Millar, Margaret Conlon, Deborah McGirr

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The hub and spoke model is one approach to nursing students’ practice learning,
which involves a base practice placement (hub), from which the student’s learning is
complemented by additional activities (spokes). This model has been integrated into
Edinburgh Napier University’s undergraduate nursing programmes since 2011, and it is
considered to enhance practice learning.
Aim To explore the characteristics of the hub and spoke model that support nursing
students’ learning and enable them to improve their understanding of a person-centred
approach to care.
Method The study involved nursing students from two fields of practice – child health and
mental health. A mixed methods approach was used, using a questionnaire and three
focus groups.
Findings A total of 24 students completed the questionnaire, while 27 students
participated in the focus groups. The questionnaire results indicated that participants
were able to undertake spoke activities in their practice, which enabled them to
understand communities’ issues and to better understand their learning competencies.
Three themes emerged from the focus groups that encapsulated participants’ experience
of hub and spoke learning in practice: value for learning, making connections, and
organisations and systems.
Conclusion There were several positive effects on nursing students’ practice learning
as a result of the hub and spoke model approach to practice learning. Students valued
the option of undertaking a ‘different’ placement experience that offered them the
opportunity to view connections to the wider patient healthcare journey and understand
the influence of the community on patients’ health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalNursing Standard
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2017


  • hub and spoke model; nurse education; nursing students; practice learning; professional development; research; student experience; undergraduate nursing programmes


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