BACKGROUND : Professional nurses enrolled in a post-basic emergency nursing programme
presented at a tertiary nursing education institution in South Africa are placed in different
clinical learning environments to reach the set clinical outcomes and gain appropriate
clinical experience. These students are placed in the hospital environment (emergency
department and critical care unit) and pre-hospital environment (road ambulance services)
to ensure they gain the necessary clinical exposure in order to learn the relevant and
necessary skills and knowledge which in turn will help them become safe and independent
emergency nurse practitioners. Controversy about the value of placing emergency nursing
students in the pre-hospital environment has raised questions from specifically the private
healthcare sector. During the pre-hospital placement, emergency nursing students are
absent from the hospital environment which is costly and, according to the healthcare
OBJECTIVE : The study explored the views of the emergency nurse students regarding the
value of rotating through the pre-hospital learning environment during an emergency
METHODS : A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design using an
Appreciative Inquiry approach was used to collect the data. Through purposive sampling a
total of 45 emergency nursing students participated. Data was collected by means of selfreported
Appreciative Inquiry interview guides and individual Appreciative Inquiry interviews.
The data was analysed using content analysis.
RESULTS : Four major themes were identified: an unpredictable environment, role players in
emergency medical services, team work, and competencies.
CONCLUSION : The research findings support the value and continuation of utilising the prehospital
clinical learning environment for placing post-basic emergency nursing students
when enrolled in the emergency nursing programme.