Learning nursing : gaining an insight into what helps students to make sense of nursing knowledge and practice

  • Beverley YOUNG

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Learning nursing is regarded as a challenging, complex and somewhat difficult process. It has long been established that students have difficulty in integrating theoretical knowledge and nursing practice. Most studies in the literature focus on the causes of the theory practice gap, students' difficulties in relating theory and practice and examining specific teaching and learning approaches that could be employed in order to bridge this gap. The aim of this phenomenological study was to gain an insight into what nursing students believe facilitates their learning and what helps them to develop cognisance of the complex relationship between theory and practice. Eleven pre-registration adult nursing students were interviewed and asked to share their experiences of learning nursing and what they believed enabled them to learn nursing and make sense of nursing knowledge and practice. Utilising Colaizzi's framework (Colaizzi, 1978), seven key themes emerged from the narratives with further analysis identifying situated learning as a key theme which permeated all of the students' narratives. This study considers constructivism, situated learning and being in a community of practice as the key factors involved in facilitating the eleven students to learn nursing knowledge and practice and gain cognisance of the complex relationship between nursing knowledge and practice. The study recommends providing students with a range of educational experiences which situate their learning in meaningful contexts, thereby enabling students to construct an understanding of the complex relationship between theory and practice.
Date of Award13 Feb 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of the West of Scotland
SupervisorWendy Cohen (Supervisor) & Edward Sosu (Supervisor)

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