Journal of Nursing Education

Syllabus Selection: Innovative Learning Activity 

Pumping up the Protégés: Innovative Social Learning Using Psychomotor Learning Strategies

Janice Putnam, PhD, RN; Sue Lasiter, PhD, RN; Tracy Colon, BSN, RN





Pumping up the Protégés: Innovative Social Learning Using Psychomotor Learning Strategies

This article presents an innovative psychomotor teaching strategy that emphasized social learning between baccalaureate nursing students and their high school protégés. The purpose of this teaching strategy was to evaluate the influence of a shared laboratory environment on the learning experiences of secondary and postsecondary students. The goal was to foster a mentoring relationship among these students. Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977) was the theoretical foundation for this strategy.


The preprofessional nursing program is comprised of students from a consortium of high schools that have identified professional nursing as their career goal. The preprofessional students meet for 2 hours daily for an academic year.

The students learn about nursing and practice nursing skills in a new midfidelity nursing skills laboratory and classroom. Through a collaborative agreement, distance education sections of baccalaureate nursing laboratory classes were held in this same laboratory.

Instructors met to identify common program topics such as bedmaking, feeding, vital signs, transfers, and oral hygiene. To promote self-efficacy, predetermined laboratory standards for high school-level and college-level performance were set. The college students were assigned the lead role in developing a 2-hour laboratory session during which students worked in small groups (4 to 6 students per group) on a designated topic. College students role modeled psychomotor laboratory sessions that promoted attention, retention, motor reproduction, incentives, and motivation. Time was allowed for interaction and relationship building between the high school students and the college students.


Presurveys and postsurveys were completed by all participants. Several factors were identified by high school students related to the general perception of college students as role models. The college students were perceived by their protégés as having status and prestige, mastery of content and skills, similarity of nursing attributes, and high competence. Exemplars from the college student surveys revealed:

  • Self -reflection: “[I] realized how much knowledge I had acquired.”
  • Self-improvement: “[I was provided with an] opportunity to practice skills that I had learned…profession-al communication skills.”
  • Leadership: “[I] helped the high school students understand the relationships and expectations of nursing school.”

High school students liked having role models. They reported having valued the opportunity to ask the college students questions about college and nursing school. They also thought that the shared laboratory experience “inspired us to be more forward-looking in our classroom learning” and “made us realize that nursing school is competitive and hard.”

Faculty indicated that the college students took the lead role in learning situations. Mentoring activities such as role modeling and promotion of self-efficacy through laboratory interactions were observed. Opportunities to practice laboratory assignments on unfamiliar laboratory partners promoted observable communication and interactive skills. Opportunities for high school and college faculty to interact has resulted in increased recruitment and retention and dual credit offerings, including introductory nursing courses and nursing electives.


This innovative teaching strategy promoted quality education and provided early exposure of high school and college students to the social learning skills needed in the current professional nursing environment. In addition, this educational opportunity has been an effective and economical teaching-learning partnership between two levels of nursing education. The faculty from both programs agreed that the common laboratory experiences were valuable in various ways, including relationship building through mentoring and collaboration.

Janice Putnam, PhD, RN

Sue Lasiter, PhD, RN
University of Central Missouri

Tracy Colon, BSN, RN
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District


  • Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. New York: General Learning Press.


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