The concept of belongingness has intuitive appeal. Human beings are social creatures; the need to belong and be accepted is fundamental, and social exclusion can be devastating. This paper reports on the selected findings from the qualitative phase of mixed-methods study that explored nursing students’ experience of belongingness while on clinical placements. The 18 interview participants in this study were from Australia and the United Kingdom. They provided a range of perspectives on belongingness and how it influenced their placement experience. Central to this discussion was their strong belief that belonging is a prerequisite for clinical learning. This theme dominated all of the interviews. Given that the primary purpose of clinical placements is for students to learn to nurse, there needs to be a clear understanding of the relationship between belongingness and learning. With reference to the published literature and excerpts from interview transcripts, this paper proposes that reconceptualising nursing students’ clinical learning experiences through a ‘lens of belongingness’ provides a new perspective and reveals yet unexplored insights.
Nurse Education in Practice Vol. 8, Issue 2, p. 103-111