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Title: Nurse education : an experiment in integration of theory and practice in nursing
Author: Alexander, Margaret F.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3411 0599
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1980
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An experiment in integration of theory and practice in nursing is described. It took place within the apprenticeship programme of general nurse education and training in Scotland, 1978/79 and was evaluated by student nurses, nurse teachers and ward trained staff. The research approach was that of illuminative evaluation, incorporating a pre-test/post-test control group design, with an added retention of learning test. In regard to nursing of patients with gastro-intestinal disease, experimental group students received a planned programme of concurrent theory and directly relevant and supervised nursing practice, while control group students received teaching of the same subject matter by entirely college-based methods. Prior to their random allocation to experimental or control groups, students were paired on the basis of their results on a multiple choice test, the construction and validation of which is described. Following an exploratory survey and pilot study, the main study took place in five colleges of nursing and their associated hospitals. Data collection methods were pre- and post-experiment opinion questionnaires, the multiple choice test and college-set essay format tests, and student study diaries. Opinions as to aspects of the learning milieu in nurse education and training were obtained from 119 student nurses, 221+ ward staff and 72 teachers. It was concluded that there was considerable evidence of practice which differed from theory, and that, when ward trained staff and trained teachers of nursing were compared, the latter made the least contribution to ward teaching of student nurses in general medical and surgical wards. Test scores were available from 32 matched pairs of experimental and control group students and an additional 11 experimental group students. It was concluded that both experimental and control methods of instruction were effective as both resulted in statistically significant gain scores from pre-test to post-test and from pre-test to retention test. However, when the relative instructional effectiveness of the two methods of instruction was examined, there was no statistically significant difference within the pairs. There was a consistent trend, very small at post-test, but more marked at retention test for students in the experimental group to have higher scores than those in the control group. There was no statistically significant difference in retention test scores between students, in either group, for whom intervening practical experience had been relevant to the subject matter of the experiment, and those for whom it had not. Prom post-experiment opinions of 5l student nurses, 58 ward trained staff and 11 teachers who had been directly involved, it was concluded that the objectives of the experiment in regard to various aspects of integration of theoiy and practice in nursing had received a very positive evaluation. Recommendations made were based upon evidence in the pre-experiment qualitative data, upon the strong endorsement of the experiment by student nurses, teachers and ward staff, upon its reported benefits to the patients, and notwithstanding the lack of a statistically significant result on the test scores - which latter result was considered to be not unrealistic in view of the brevity of the intervention. These recommendations included that nurse teachers should endeavour to teach nursing where nursing is carried out, with students who are temporarily freed from the responsibilities for providing service, and that ward staff and student nurses should be taught how to teach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Health services & community care services