City Research Online

What makes a good clinical practice experience in radiography and sonography? An exploration of qualified clinical staff and student perceptions

Khine, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-0021-0553, Harrison, G. ORCID: 0000-0003-2795-8190 & Flinton, D. (2024). What makes a good clinical practice experience in radiography and sonography? An exploration of qualified clinical staff and student perceptions. Radiography, 30(1), pp. 66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.radi.2023.09.013


Clinical practice can be a challenging experience for some healthcare students. The quality of the clinical experience can have a profound effect on the overall student learning experience in clinical practice and attrition. The aim of the study was to explore the perceptions of an optimal clinical practice experience by radiography and sonography students and qualified clinical staff.

A qualitative research design was adopted utilising focus groups (n = 5). The study population comprised of qualified radiography/sonography staff (n = 10) from across a number of placement sites used by City, University of London and radiography and sonography students (n = 15) from the same institution. Full verbatim transcriptions were analysed thematically.

Four key themes emerged: 1) favourable/unfavourable traits, 2) creating an optimal learning environment 3) challenges and 4) considerations for clinical education. Key factors for a positive learning experience included clinical supervisors being approachable, whilst encouraging and empowering students. Qualified radiography/sonography clinical staff highlighted student motivation as an important aspect for successful placement learning.

The study has provided an insight into a number of positive attributes that enhance student learning experiences whilst on clinical placement. Unhelpful attributes and challenges, such as student motivation and time limitations, were also revealed. It is important that supervisors within the clinical departments actively work towards the provision of a positive learning experience.

Implications for practice
This study can better inform clinical staff regarding the importance of enhancing the student learning experience and facilitating high quality learning within the clinical department. Moreover, to encourage clinical staff to ensure robust “support” is established for students on placement.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The College of Radiographers. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher Keywords: Practice education, Student learning experience, Placement learning, Characteristics, Attrition, Humans, Radiography, Focus Groups, Learning, Qualitative Research, Students, Attrition, Characteristics, Placement learning, Practice education, Student learning experience, Humans, Learning, Qualitative Research, Students, Focus Groups, Radiography, 1103 Clinical Sciences, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
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