Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 611–631 | Cite as

What impact do students have on clinical educators and the way they practise?

  • Lisa WatersEmail author
  • Kristin Lo
  • Stephen Maloney


The clinical education setting plays an important part in teaching students about the real world of clinical practice. Traditionally the educational relationship between student and clinical educator has been considered one-way, with students being the ones that benefit. This review focuses on the areas of clinician practice and behaviour that students are reported to influence through clinical placements and as such, determine the overall impact students can have on supervising clinicians. Electronic searches were conducted across MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO and CINAHL in July 2016. Retrieved articles were filtered to find those which presented data relating to students in the clinical setting. Data was extracted and analysed independently by two authors through thematic analysis. Twenty-eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Results showed that practitioners enjoy the act of teaching. Clinical student presence encourages clinicians to solidify their knowledge base, stimulates learning and causes them to re-evaluate their practice. Practitioner skills were further developed as a results of students. Clinical educator workload and time spent at work increased when a student was present with time management being the predominant challenge practitioners faced. Studies demonstrated that clinicians feel they benefit by students periodically becoming the teacher. Student placements in clinical practice cause an increase in practitioner workload and lengthen their work day. These perceived limitations are outweighed by the many benefits described by supervising clinicians. Providing clinical education can enrich both the practice, and the practitioner, and the aforementioned advantages should be highlighted when offering or considering the expansion of clinical placements.


Clinical education Student supervision Reciprocal learning 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Victoria Liarakos in the production of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash University - Peninsula CampusFrankstonAustralia

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