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Abstract

Background: Clinical education placements provide the opportunity for students to gain practical skills and apply theoretical knowledge not otherwise available in many instances. Objectives: This research explored how undergraduate paramedic students perceive their clinical placement learning environments. Methods: A prospective cross-sectional study using a paper-based survey, the Clinical Learning Environment Inventory (CLEI), was conducted on undergraduate paramedic students studying at a large Australian university in semester 1, 2010. A total of 190 students were invited to participate in the survey. The CLEI is a standardised tool that contains 84-items and six subscales. Findings: Sixty students completed the CLEI (31% response rate). It was found that on both the actual and preferred CLEI forms, Satisfaction was found to be the most important domain having a mean score of 29.68 (SD+3.81) and 31.37 (SD+4.35) respectively.Individualisation was found to be the least important domain in both the actual and preferred form, with mean scores of 20.93 (SD+3.80) and 24.03 (SD+3.82) respectively. This indicated that paramedic students as a group sensed that theSatisfaction aspect of clinical placements are an integral aspect of their preferred clinical learning environment. Results also indicated that all six subscales were statistically different at the p<0.001 level. Conclusion: There were significant differences in the perceptions of paramedic students actual and preferred clinical learning environments. This provides educators with strategies in promoting positive learning experiences for students.

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