Psychological, social and emotional changes experienced by student nurses undertaking the Project 2000 system of training
The research reported in this thesis examined the changes that students undertaking the Project 2000 (UKCC, 1986) course in nursing experience. It was carried out in one school of nursing in the Midlands over a period of 3 years and the various stages of empirical enquiry involved a total of 218 questionnaires, 10 interviews and 30 stress studies. A phenomenological methodology was adopted which incorporated a 3 stage mixed method approach. During the initial 2 stages complementary data were collected from two cohorts of students (cohort 1 n=40, cohort 2 n=19) to explore their experiences of the course and identify significant issues. To identify possible changes in their methods of studying the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory (Tait & Entwistle, 1996) was used. Insight into other changes that occurred during the course was afforded by supplementing these data with demographic data and qualitative data obtained from interviews. Two main themes arose; Changes in Approaches to Studying and Psychological Distress. In the final stage of this research each theme was considered using quantitative methods. Two instruments were developed and data was obtained from 2 samples of students (n=76, n=30). These were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistical tests and the results compared with those from earlier stages of this research and the literature. Linking the findings of this research to other enquiries also suggests that these students are typical of all Project 2000 students at this time (Yin, 1994; Bassey, 1998). Therefore, this research contends that Project 2000 students are likely; in terms of approaches to studying: (a) to change their approach to studying from a Surface Approach in favour of a Deep Approach as they see the relevance of the theory to the practice of nursing; (b) to exhibit the pattern which is common in higher education that older students tend towards a Deep Approach to studying; in terms of confidence and ability in studying: (c) by the end of the first year of the course to show no difference in confidence or ability in studying which can be attributed to their academic qualifications on entry to the course; in terms of psychological distress: (d) to experience various intensities of distress during the course associated with: • the theory component of the course (due to perceptions of irrelevance of the “health” model taught, particularly during the CFP); • loss of control (concerning the administration of the course and also the adverse group pressure exerted by the Adult Branch students in the CFP); • clinical practice (due to perceptions of not being prepared for the “curative-illness” model during the CFP, a lack of clinical skills, and sometimes due to hostility from placement staff); • assignments (due to lack of co-ordination between the different modules and clinical experiences, and related problems of time-management); • financial pressures (often resulting in additional employment to supplement bursaries); and; in terms of personal development and personal relationships: (e) to become more self-aware, assertive and non-judgemental in professional settings; (f) to have a high chance of personal difficulties with spouses or partners, particularly those students between the ages of 25-34 years.