What do they expect? A comparison of student expectations and outcomes of undergraduate research experiences

Submitted by David M Chapinski

Tags: experiences nursing students perioperative research student student expectations student outcomes students

What do they expect?  A comparison of student expectations and outcomes of undergraduate research experiences

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As we look to taking on a researcher’s identity, teacher learning in and through research participation naturally changes. What is unnatural is how we address the question of, how can we maximize nursing students; learning about research evidence and utilization in undergraduate, preregistration programmes?

I believe that research should be fully embedded throughout nursing curricula beyond the confines of research classes, integrating learning in academic and practice-based settings. Although this requires synergistic and integrated support of student learning by nurse educators, managers, clinical practitioners, researchers, and policymakers; nurse educators have a pivotal role.

If the value of research informed nursing knowledge is not uniformly valued or applied throughout an educational programme there is a risk of developing a ‘hidden curriculum’ through which students unintentionally learn the research is not relevant for practice. Immersion in the ‘value of research’ itself, can be undertaken by embedding research throughout the curriculum. Thereby, all academic classes and practice-based experience, potentially present learning opportunities for discussing research to inform professional judgment and action or supporting value in the relevance of research.

Prescription for success in an associate degree nursing program.

The decision to fail a student in the final nursing preceptorship is difficult and rife with feelings and consequences. Thus, some preceptors and faculty fail to fail students who display incompetent or unsatisfactory clinical performance because they recognize the potential consequences of their decision.


Failing underperforming students shows that the role of grading in practice assessment is the New Nexus as we can determine through boundaries.

Figure 1. Transformative learning theory

Messy Boundaries could Spell Messy Student Experiences which is why we must re-visit nursing students’ understanding of being regulated. High attrition rates of students enrolled in courses prerequisite to the nursing major never be detected by the nursing department. However, in colleges that offer freshman early admission to the major, nurse faculty have opportunities to interact with students during this early, nonclinical phase of their nursing education. Targeting interventions when challenges are likely to arise, such as after a first test, is important. Helping students understand their own faulty thinking and negativity is also something that faculty can do.

Today, nursing students are not only introduced to the research process in their curriculum, but there are varying levels of expectation depending on students’ education. The level of research content in a curriculum depends on the type of nursing program in which the student is enrolled, previous completed coursework, and whether the student is a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral student. The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for professional nursing practice from the American Association of colleges of nursing, for example, provides the framework for baccalaureate nursing education. And although nursing programs that incorporate research, including honors programs are not new in baccalaureate nursing curricula, student participation in perioperative research is limited by the dearth of nursing faculty members holding perioperative research experience.

I believe that nursing student participants across all 3 years have not fully understood what regulation of their practice means and how it applies to the. This includes their understanding of how regulation works, the role of the board and the education sector, as well as any potential consequences of breaching the legislation, particularly related to being ‘fit to practice.’ The overriding purpose of statutory regulation of nurses and midwives is that of service to and protection of the public. The nursing profession needs to do its upmost to honour this intent and make available nursing are that is competent, effective and appropriate. The preparation of students to understand and take seriously their regulatory obligations rests with the education providers the profession and the regulators.

The term messy boundary in and of itself is indicative of a tension. As some students will point out, there appears to be unfounded assumptions by trained, senior nurses that when there is a young adolescent client on the ward it is all the more appropriate and beneficial to send the young student in to chat with them or do their basic clinical tasks. The following response supports this notion: ‘my mentor and the staff nurses felt that you know she was feeling a bit alone, feeling a bit sort of sad and you do get asked to go in and stuff often the staff nurses will say like, you are young you go in there and see whether you know, see if she is all right and everything. There needs to be an education remodeling in this respect.

Given the promised investment in high quality professional placements by Health Workforce American there should be potential to formalize the roles and career options for clinical facilitators and to give more support and specific preparation for them. A new model of employment, building on the current partnership agreement between the state health department and the university, has potential for increasing the integration of the hospital and university and thereby contributing towards the closure of the infamous theory practice gap that continues to haunt nursing education.

While we know that students’ nurses’ unique focus on patient centered education provides insight that differs from students of other disciplines, studying the unique learning outcomes of students enrolled in tertiary nursing research programs in America is relevant to all local and regional stakeholders vested in the transformation of students into leaders of the profession.