Exploring the potential theory-practice gap in the teaching methods of nurse educators

Van Zyl, Ann Elizabeth (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The lack of theory-practice integration has a long-standing history in nursing education due to many factors and causes. It is continuously indicated in research studies that there is no easy or perfect solution. The causes for this theory-practice gap seem to be in the theoretical and/or clinical environment. In literature teaching methods are identified as one of the most important causes of the theory-practice gap. In view of the informal feedback received from nurse educators and nursing managers it was necessary to investigate the lack of theory-practice integration. The aim of the study was thus to explore in which respects current teaching methods utilised by nurse educators at a higher education institution comply or do not comply with teaching methods suggested in literature as essential for theory-practice integration. An exploratory descriptive research design was used to investigate the nature of the teaching methods utilised by nurse educators facilitating theoretical learning. Questionnaires were sent to nurse educators and student nurses registered for the Diploma in General Nursing Science programme. The questionnaire that mainly consisted of closed questions was used to collect and analyse the data. The data were generated at four learning sites of a higher education institution. The validity of the results was verified by an observer in the field for which a structured checklist was used. Results indicated that a wide spectrum of teaching methods were utilised by the nurse educators and that the student nurses had limited internet access at the learning centres. Eight (8) teaching methods, complying with teaching methods identified by literature as essential to enhance theorypractice integration, were used. However, it was evident that formal lectures were overused. It raises concerns as this method does not comply with teaching methods essential to enhance theory-practice integration. In fact, it limits the students’ ability to develop critical thinking and is seen as one of the possible causes of the theory-practice gap. Feedback relating to the teaching aids used showed that the data projector with PowerPoint slides, whiteboard and textbooks were the three teaching aids used most frequently. According to literature, the overuse of textbooks is generally viewed as the starting point of the theory-practice gap. The results of this study imply that an increased awareness and training of nurse educators regarding their teaching methods may increase their teaching and facilitation skills. It seems to be the nurse educator’s responsibility to ensure that teaching methods are used that are essential to enhance theory-practice integration and it is the responsibility of management at any higher educational institution to ensure that the necessary educational and information technology resources are available. It is recommended that further studies be conducted to determine whether nurse educators do indeed apply the teaching methods effectively to narrow the theory-practice gap.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die gebrek aan teorie-praktyk integrasie in verpleegkunde het ‘n lang gekiedenis in verpleegonderwys as gevolg van verskeie faktore en oorsake. Navorsing toon deurgaans dat daar nie ‘n maklike of perfekte oplossing vir hierdie probleem is nie. Die oorsake vir die teorie-praktyk gaping kan teoretiese en/of klinies van aard wees. Onderrigmetodes word deur navorsing as een van die belangrikste oorsake vir die teorie-praktyk gaping aangedui. Die informele terugvoer van dosente en verpleegdiensbestuurders het getoon dat teorie- en praktyk integrasie nie voldoende is nie. Dit was dus noodsaaklik om die onderrigmetodes van dosente in verpleegkunde te ondersoek. Die doel van die studie was om te bepaal tot watter mate die huidige onderrigmetodes van die dosente wat verbonde is aan ‘n hoër onderrig instelling voldoen of nie voldoen nie aan onderrigmetodes wat in literatuur aangedui word as essensieël vir die bevordering van teorie-praktyk integrasie. In hierdie studie is beskrywende en ondersoekende navorsingsmetodes gebruik om die onderrigmetodes van die dosente in verpleegkunde te ondersoek. Vraelyste is uitgestuur na dosente en student-verpleegkundiges wat besig is met die Diploma in Algemene Verpleegkunde. Die vraelys, wat hoofsaaklik geslote vrae bevat het, is gebruik om die nodige data te versamel en te analiseer. Die data is by vier van die hoër onderrig instellings se leersentrums versamel. Die geldigheid van die resultate is geverifieër deur ‘n waarnermer in die veld wat ‘n gestruktureerde kontrolelys vir hierdie doel gebruik het. Die resultate het getoon dat ‘n wye spektrum van onderrigmetodes deur die dosente in verpleegkunde gebruik is en dat die student verpleegkundiges beperkte internet toegang by die leersentrums het. Van die literatuur geïdentifiseerde onderrigmetodes wat as essensieël vir die bevordering van teorie-praktyk integrasie is, het die dosente agt (8) metodes gebruik. Dit was duidelik dat formele lesings grootliks oorbenut is. Dit is kommerwekkend aangesien die lesingmetode nie voldoen aan die onderrigmetodes wat essensieël is vir die bevordering van teorie-praktyk integrasie nie. Inteendeel, die metode beperk studente se vermoë om kritiese denke te ontwikkel en word beskou as een van die moontlike oorsake vir die teorie-praktyk gaping. Die resultate het verder getoon dat die meeste onderrighulpmiddels wat gebruik is, is die data-projektor met PowerPoint skyfies, die witbord en handboeke. Die oorbenutting van handboeke word algemeen in literatuur beskou as die beginpunt van die teorie-praktyk gaping. Die studieresultate impliseer dat ‘n toenemende bewusmaking en opleiding van die dosente in verpleegkunde ten opsigte van hul onderrigmetodes moontlik onderrig- en fasiliteringsvaardighede kan bevorder. Dit blyk dat dit individuele dosente se verantwoordelikheid is om te verseker dat die essensiële onderrigmetodes vir die bevordering van teorie-praktyk integrasie gebruik word en dit is die bestuur van enige hoër onderrig instelling se verantwoordelikheid om te verseker dat die nodige opvoedkundige- en informasietegnologie beskikbaar is. Dit word aanbeveel dat verdere studies gedoen word om vas te stel of dosente in verpleegkunde onderrigmetodes effektief aanwend ten einde die teorie-praktyk gaping te verklein.

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