Academic factors affecting learning at a nursing college in the Western Cape

Magerman, Yolande Nerissa (2011-03)

Thesis (MCur)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Nursing education, including the individual nurse educator, has a responsibility to society and to students for providing quality education, for maintaining the highest academic standards, for the proficient use of teaching strategies and for ensuring adequate support to learners. These standards were threatened at a particular college in the Western Cape which instigated this study. This study aimed at investigating the academic factors that influenced learning at a particular nursing college in the Western Cape. The objectives included the following possible factors that may have contributed towards the unsatisfactory, academic performances of students: • Nursing as a career choice; • Selection criteria; • Approaches to learning; • Motivation and learning; • Language barrier to learning; and • Factors affecting the learning environment. A non-experimental, descriptive research design was applied with a quantitative approach. The target population (N = 963) consisted of nursing students following the course leading to registration as a professional nurse, according to the South African Nursing Council’s regulation 425, as promulgated by the Nursing Act 50 of 1978, as amended (Nursing Act 33 of 2005). Probability, stratified sampling was used to select the sample of participants (n = 174). A structured questionnaire, consisting of predominantly closed questions, was used for the collection of data. Ethical approval was obtained from Stellenbosch University to conduct this study. Permission to conduct the research was also obtained beforehand from the management of the nursing college being studied, whilst prior informed consent was obtained from each participant. Reliability and validity of the study were assured by means of a pilot study and through the use of experts in nursing research, methodology and statistics. Data was collected and captured by the researcher personally. The data was analysed with the support of a statistician and was expressed as frequencies and in tables and histograms. Descriptive statistics and post-hoc analyses, including tests for statistical associations, were performed. The outcomes from this study showed that third year students (n = 49/23%) spent the most time studying, whilst first years (n = 74/43%) and second years (n = 40/23%) only spent 2.3 hours studying per day. Academic support classes, when offered, were always attended by (n = 64/37%) and most times by (n = 72/42%). The majority of the participants were able to cope with the workload most of the time (n = 107/61%), whilst (n = 51/30%) and (n = 6/3%) of the participants indicated coping seldom and never, respectively. A significant relationship between the ages of participants and being able to cope with the workload (Spearman p-value = 0.02) existed. Results indicated that (n = 83/48%) of the participants received support with language problems, whilst (n = 75/43%) indicated that they did not receive support with language problems. The Afrikaans speaking participants coped the best with the workload (mean score = 1.72), followed by the English speaking students (mean score = 1.68), and lastly the Isi- Xhosa speaking learners (mean score = 1.65). Recommendations made by participants included the following: • Strict adherence to the selection criteria, which should help decrease the attrition rate. • English as a subject / module during the first year was proposed. • The promotion of the proficiency in English, through interaction between English speaking learners and students with English as second language, should be encouraged. • Regular updates of the contents of the curriculum. • The importance of identifying ‘at risk’ students and pro-actively introducing a mentorship programme. • Information technology needed to be improved in many aspects, such as accessibility of Web based communication. Results from the open ended questions showed that participants regarded the teaching strategies as boring. Large classrooms were also mentioned as a problem. Smaller classes were requested to enable more interaction in the class. In conclusion, this study showed that specific academic factors were influencing learning at the nursing college being investigated in the Western Cape. Therefore, recommendations were made in this study, which, if implemented, should result in an improvement in the overall academic performances of students.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verpleegkundige onderrig, insluitende die individuele verpleegkundige opvoeder, het 'n verantwoordelikheid teenoor die samelewing en teenoor studente om kwaliteit onderrig te verskaf, om die hoogste akademiese standaarde te handhaaf, om die effektiewe gebruik van onderrigstrategieë te bied en om die begeleiding van leerders te verseker. Hierdie standarde was gedreig by ′n seker verpleeg kollege in die Wes Kaap en dus was die studie geinisieër. Hierdie studie het ten doel gehad om die akademiese faktore, wat moontlik leer by 'n bepaalde verpleegkollege in die Wes-Kaap beïnvloed, te ondersoek. Die doelwitte het faktore, wat moontlik die akademiese prestasie van studente kon beïnvloed het, ingesluit: • Verpleging as 'n loopbaankeuse; • Keuringskriteria; • Benaderings tot leer; • Motivering en leer; • Taalhindernis; en • Faktore wat die leeromgewing affekteer. 'n Nie-eksperimentele, beskrywende navorsingsontwerp is toegepas, deur van ′n kwantitatiewe benadering gebruik te maak. Die teikenbevolking (N = 963) het uit verpleegkunde studente bestaan wat die kursus gevolg het wat tot registrasie as 'n professionele verpleegkundige lei, in ooreenstemming met die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad op Verpleging se regulasie 425, soos gepromalgeer deur die aangepaste Wet op Verpleging 50 van 1978 (Wet op Verpleging 33 van 2005). Daar is van waarskynlikheid-gestratifiseerde steekproefneming gebruik gemaak om die deelnemers te kies (n = 174). 'n Gestruktureerde vraelys, bestaande uit hoofsaaklik geslote vrae, is vir die invordering van data gebruik. Etiese goedkeuring is vooraf van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch verkry om hierdie studie uit te voer. Toestemming om die navorsing te doen is ook vooraf vanaf die bestuur van die verpleegkollege wat ondersoek is verkry, terwyl elke deelnemer sy/haar ingeligte toestemming verleen het. Betroubaarheid en geldigheid is deur middel van 'n loodsstudie verseker, tesame met die gebruik van kundiges in verpleegnavorsing, metodologie en statistiek. Data is deur die navorser persoonlik versamel en vasgelê. Die data is met die hulp van ‘n statistikus ontleed en is as frekwensies en in tabelle en histogramme illustreer. Beskrywende statistiek en post-hoc analises, insluitende toetse vir statistiese assosiasies, is uitgevoer. Die bevindings uit hierdie studie het daarop gedui dat derdejaarstudente (n = 49/23%) die meeste tyd aan hul studies bestee het, terwyl die eerste- (n = 74/43%) en tweedejaarstudente (n = 40/23%) daagliks slegs 2.3 ure aan hul studies spandeer het. Waar akademiese ondersteuningsklasse aanbieding is, is dit altyd deur (n = 64/37%) bygewoon en die meeste kere deur (n = 72/42%). Die meerderheid van deelnemers was meestal in staat om die werkslading te hanteer (n = 107/61%), terwyl (n = 51/30%) en (n = 6/3%) van die deelnemers, onderskeidelik, aangedui het dat hulle selde of ooit die lading kon baasraak. 'n Beduidende verwantskap tussen die ouderdomme van die deelnemers en hul vermoë om met die werkslading te kon volhou (Spearman p-waarde = 0,02), het bestaan. Resultate het daarop gedui dat (n = 83/48%) van die deelnemers steun met taalprobleme ontvang het, terwyl (n = 75/43%) aangedui het dat hulle nie steun ontvang het nie. Die Afrikaanssprekende deelnemers het die werkslading die beste hanteer (gemiddelde telling = 1.72), gevolg deur die Engelssprekendes (gemiddelde telling = 1.68) en laastens die Isi-Xhosasprekende deelnemers (gemiddelde telling = 1.65). Aanbevelings deur deelnemers het die volgende ingesluit: • Die streng nakoming van die keuringskriteria behoort die afname in die uitvloeitempo te help bevorder. • Engels as 'n vak / module gedurende die eerste jaar is voorgestel. • Die bevordering van Engels as spreektaal, deur die interaksie tussen studente met Engels as Moedertaal en Engels as tweede taal, behoort aangemoedig te word. • Gereelde opdatering van die die kurrikuluminhoud. Die belangrikheid om "hoë risiko" studente te identifiseer en ’n pro-aktiewe mentorskapsprogram daar te stel. • Inligtingstegnologie behoort in baie aspekte verbeter te word, soos bv toeganklikheid tot Web-gebaseerde kommunikasie. Die resultate tov die oop vrae het getoon dat deelnemers die onderrigstrategieë as vervelig beskou het. Groot klaskamers is ook as 'n probleem geïdentifiseer. Daar was versoeke vir kleiner klasse, ten einde beter interaksie tussen leerders en dosente te bevorder. Ter afsluiting het die studie getoon dat spesifieke akademiese faktore leer by die Wes- Kaapse verpleegkollege, wat ondersoek is, beïnvloed het. Dus is aanbevelings in hierdie studie gemaak, wat, indien geïmplementeer, 'n verbetering in die algehele akademiese prestasie van studente behoort te help bewerkstellig.

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