A study into the learning of bioscience by student nurses

PhD thesis

Kerr, C. 2006. A study into the learning of bioscience by student nurses. PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Health and Social Sciences
TypePhD thesis
TitleA study into the learning of bioscience by student nurses
AuthorsKerr, C.

Background: The introduction of the Diploma in Nursing Higher Education (H.Ed) in the late eighties and early nineties resulted in a substantial change in the way that nurses were trained. While the new courses included much bioscience within the curriculum there continues to be concern about how the students link the formal theory that they are taught in the classroom and their experiences in the practice setting. Many of the events occurring in the practice setting are wholly dependent on knowledge of bioscience yet evaluations made of the Diploma since 1995 suggest that bioscience theory is being taught unaccompanied by the opportunity to understand it in practice. This suggests a very large knowledge gap in essential teaching. Aim: This study sought to identify the processes that student nurses use to bring about a learning of bioscience that informs their practice. Design: An action research approach was begun and qualitative methods used to collect data from nursing students on the Diploma of Nursing course. They were: nominal group technique, focused interviews, the recording of critical incidents and learning style assessments questionnaires. One hundred and twenty students in all took part in this study. Findings: The results that emerged from the data suggested that the dominant factors in the learning process for the students were the presence of the real patient and other professionals. Interactions with patients aroused emotional feelings and their presence assisted in promoting bioscience learning that was useful to the students in subsequent practice. Students claimed that they relearned this subject beginning with the disordered bioscience that they met in the placement setting. In order to achieve this learning students' changed their learning style for this subject. They made no attempt to link the previous taught theories of the classroom with what they saw in practice. Conclusion: The learning process preferred by the students was based on problem-solving and involved a change to the students' initial learning style. Future teaching methods for the subject of bioscience should be based on real patients and their problems as encountered within the clinical setting. The action research cycle could not be completed at this time due to the nature of other new changes to the nursing programme from government directives.

Department nameSchool of Health and Social Sciences
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print06 Aug 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Aug 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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