Journal of Nursing Education

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Educational Innovations 

From Anxiety to Enthusiasm: Facilitating Graduate Nursing Students' Knowledge Development in Science and Theory

Diana E. McMillan, PhD, RN; Sandy Bell, MN, RN; Ember E. Benson, BN, RN; Lynda L. Mandzuk, BN, RN; Debra M. Matias, BScN, RN; Marilyn J. McIvor, MN, RN; Judy E. Robertson, BN, RN; Krista L. Wilkins, MN, RN

  • Journal of Nursing Education. 2007;46(2)
  • Posted February 1, 2007

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Knowledge development of theory can be challenging for graduate nursing students when they experience deficits related to theoretical foundations, evaluation, or application. This article recounts the experiences of the students and course facilitator with a graduate-level nursing science and theory course, which required critical analysis of a concept, theory critique, and poster presentation. The idea for this article was generated when the students realized the profound importance of nursing theories and their applicability to practice and research. Students’ anxiety gave way to enthusiasm with the implementation of teaching and learning strategies based on adult learning theory. Knowles’ four characteristics of adult learners are discussed in relation to the experiences of the students and course facilitator. These characteristics include learners’ wish to be self-directed, need to bring life experiences to their learning, recognition of their social and occupational role competencies, and need to take a more immediate, problem-solving approach to their learning.

AUTHORS

Received: June 13, 2005

Accepted: August 29, 2005

Dr. McMillan is Assistant Professor, and Ms. Wilkins is a PhD student, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Ms. Bell is Director, Quality, Patient Safety, and Education, and Ms. Robertson is Resident Care Manager, Misericordia Health Center, Ms. Benson is Surgery Educator, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Ms. Mandzuk is Continuing Education Instructor, Surgery Program, St. Boniface General Hospital, Ms. Matias is Regional Nursing Officer, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Ms. McIvor is Manager, Immunization Programs, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The authors thank all members of the Science and Theory in Nursing class for contributing to the positive learning experience of the course and Dean Care, PhD, RN, for sharing helpful comments during manuscript preparation.

Address correspondence to Diana E. McMillan, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, 89 Curry Place, Helen Glass Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2; e-mail: diana_mcmillan@umanitoba.ca.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Knowledge development of theory can be challenging for graduate nursing students when they experience deficits related to theoretical foundations, evaluation, or application. This article recounts the experiences of the students and course facilitator with a graduate-level nursing science and theory course, which required critical analysis of a concept, theory critique, and poster presentation. The idea for this article was generated when the students realized the profound importance of nursing theories and their applicability to practice and research. Students’ anxiety gave way to enthusiasm with the implementation of teaching and learning strategies based on adult learning theory. Knowles’ four characteristics of adult learners are discussed in relation to the experiences of the students and course facilitator. These characteristics include learners’ wish to be self-directed, need to bring life experiences to their learning, recognition of their social and occupational role competencies, and need to take a more immediate, problem-solving approach to their learning.

AUTHORS

Received: June 13, 2005

Accepted: August 29, 2005

Dr. McMillan is Assistant Professor, and Ms. Wilkins is a PhD student, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Ms. Bell is Director, Quality, Patient Safety, and Education, and Ms. Robertson is Resident Care Manager, Misericordia Health Center, Ms. Benson is Surgery Educator, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Ms. Mandzuk is Continuing Education Instructor, Surgery Program, St. Boniface General Hospital, Ms. Matias is Regional Nursing Officer, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Ms. McIvor is Manager, Immunization Programs, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The authors thank all members of the Science and Theory in Nursing class for contributing to the positive learning experience of the course and Dean Care, PhD, RN, for sharing helpful comments during manuscript preparation.

Address correspondence to Diana E. McMillan, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, 89 Curry Place, Helen Glass Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2; e-mail: diana_mcmillan@umanitoba.ca.

ABSTRACT

Knowledge development of theory can be challenging for graduate nursing students when they experience deficits related to theoretical foundations, evaluation, or application. This article recounts the experiences of the students and course facilitator with a graduate-level nursing science and theory course, which required critical analysis of a concept, theory critique, and poster presentation. The idea for this article was generated when the students realized the profound importance of nursing theories and their applicability to practice and research. Students’ anxiety gave way to enthusiasm with the implementation of teaching and learning strategies based on adult learning theory. Knowles’ four characteristics of adult learners are discussed in relation to the experiences of the students and course facilitator. These characteristics include learners’ wish to be self-directed, need to bring life experiences to their learning, recognition of their social and occupational role competencies, and need to take a more immediate, problem-solving approach to their learning.

AUTHORS

Received: June 13, 2005

Accepted: August 29, 2005

Dr. McMillan is Assistant Professor, and Ms. Wilkins is a PhD student, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Ms. Bell is Director, Quality, Patient Safety, and Education, and Ms. Robertson is Resident Care Manager, Misericordia Health Center, Ms. Benson is Surgery Educator, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Ms. Mandzuk is Continuing Education Instructor, Surgery Program, St. Boniface General Hospital, Ms. Matias is Regional Nursing Officer, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Ms. McIvor is Manager, Immunization Programs, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The authors thank all members of the Science and Theory in Nursing class for contributing to the positive learning experience of the course and Dean Care, PhD, RN, for sharing helpful comments during manuscript preparation.

Address correspondence to Diana E. McMillan, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, 89 Curry Place, Helen Glass Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2; e-mail: diana_mcmillan@umanitoba.ca.

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