Nursing Teaching Methods and Learning Activities

Introduction

Instructors can use several methods to teach their nursing students and ensure that they grasp the basic concepts. The methods chosen should incorporate the key concerns of the instructor or educator. In addition, nurse educators should use different methods to engage their students in the learning process. The diversity of student populations in terms of age, background, and ethnicity informs the methods chosen to teach these students. Kinetic and auditory learners differ from visual learners. Thus, teaching this group of students requires the utilization of strategies that mix these methods. The following research paper contains some of the teaching methods that may be used in teaching and the rationale for each of these methods.

Problem-Solving Learning

The first strategy is the problem-solving method that provides an effective method for educators to impart knowledge to their students. In this method, the educator provides problems for students to solve using the theories and concepts learned over time. According to Waltz, Jenkins, and Han (2014), the problems that these students are provided with should be related and specific to the objectives of the course. In addition, each of the activities chosen must relate to other activities that were previously done or those that are planned. Problem-solving teaching aims to transform physical and logical practices into a form that the students can store in the form of knowledge. These practices in learning also ensure that a student stores information in a form that can be accessed easily.

The WHO constitutes one of the bodies that prescribe the problem-solving method of learning as a teaching method. According to this body, this method of teaching aims to ensure that students master complex knowledge to solve problems in the future (Rahnavard, Nodeh, & Hosseini, 2013). Additionally, this form of teaching ensures that students apply relevant skills in problem-solving. The other aim of this method of teaching is to equip students with the necessary nursing skills, clinical thinking, and the ability to make arguments in management.

Group Teaching

The other effective method of ensuring that students learn is to encourage group work. In this form of learning, the instructor encourages students to carry out group work and present their results as a group. In addition, the assessment of students is based on their participation in these groups. Instructors provide activities that students are required to carry out in groups (Williams, McKenna, French, & Dousek, 2013). While in their respective groups, students are assigned individual tasks that contribute to the overall group activity. These students are assessed in groups; hence, the performance of individuals in the groups contributes to the combined group performance (Williams, McKenna, French, & Dousek, 2013).

The rationale for using group work as a learning method includes the provision of skills that cannot be acquired individually. Some students are unable to ask questions or interact with their teachers. However, working in groups provides an opportunity for these students to ask questions to their peers and get clarification on issues in nursing. In addition, this form of learning ensures that students understand that clinical skills are best learned in groups. Group work simplifies learning as more activities, and objectives are learned even away from the learning institutions. Weak students learn from their colleagues in the group. Additionally, strong students contribute to the learning of these students as they polish their skills and improve in areas where they are weak (Callen, Smith, Joyce, Lutz, Brown-Schott, & Block, 2013).

The other rationale of group work as a form of learning is that learners participate in activities that they enjoy. These individuals also work in an environment that they like, are familiar with, and with colleagues with whom they can associate (Callen et al., 2013). Students working in groups share responsibilities and results (Williams, McKenna, French, & Dousek, 2013). According to Jackson and colleagues (2014), working in groups also ensures that students attain self-discipline and a sense of duty. Diverse students such as those that are theoretical mix with those that are skillful to produce an intricate group of students. This method also provokes students to develop confidence and acquire the necessary clinical skills.

Problem-Solving Group Learning Method

Instructors and nurse educators can combine group teaching with problem-solving to ensure that their students attain the best clinical skills. In this form of learning, educators get the students to work in groups and provide problems for them to solve. In addition, these students are required to provide some of the rationales for the results that they get and the relevance of the answers to them. According to Billings and Halstead (2012), students can enrich their skills with the relevant theories and teaching practices. The aim of this form of learning is to encourage problem analysis, cooperation, the relationship between facts in patient management, problem interpretation, and to ensure that students work more effectively in groups (Billings & Halstead, 2012). Additionally, this method ensures that students are creative and can put theory into practice.

The rationale behind the use of a problem-solving group learning method is that students are unable to express their problem-solving skills in individual work. However, diversity while working in groups allows these students to work in groups where they can use their skills effectively. In addition, students working in groups learn from their colleagues the different methods of problem-solving and how they can apply them in specific situations. Iwasiw and Goldenberg, 2015also states that problem-solving creates challenges that students can relate to in the management of future patients.

The other method of teaching that works in nursing schools is the use of tutorials. In this method of learning, the educators facilitate topic-based interactive sessions for a small group of students. In this learning method, an educator can establish some of the challenges that the students have and know them personally (Raurell-Torredà, Olivet-Pujol, Romero-Collado, Malagon-Aguilera, Patiño-Masó, & Baltasar-Bagué, 2015). This method of learning also ensures that the students can know their educators and familiarize themselves with the expectations of these instructors. Tutorials also ensure that students ask questions or get clarifications in areas where they did not understand in other learning sessions such as lectures. Consequently, this teaching method is effective in imparting knowledge.

Although less commonly utilized in clinical nursing, practicals constitute the other method of teaching nursing students. Some of the advantages of using practicals include the ability to provide skills for the students. According to Iwasiw and Goldenberg, 2015, practical sessions provide students with the opportunity to acquire clinical skills without having to access the clinical areas. This method also offers the students a chance to learn through visualization. Most students learn effectively when they can visualize the learning materials and the concepts they use. The other rationale behind the use of practical sessions to teach nursing students is that this method creates a link between theory and practice and influences their clinical decisions.

Role-plays and simulations constitute the other methods important in teaching nursing students. In role-play, students act a part of practice or imitate individuals. On the other hand, simulation involves developing situations that are unreal and can be used to predict future practice. The use of simulations and role-play offers students a chance to integrate their learning and practice it. The rationale includes that students learn out of experience and through visualization (Raurell-Torredà et al., 2015). In addition, this form of learning is associated with the significant retention of learned skills (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). In some of the research carried out on this method of learning, students were able to remember most of the learning activities compared to the use of other methods.

Role-play and simulation as methods of learning also ensure that students can associate the learning activities with what they practice in real life (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). These methods also expose students to several other techniques in nursing. Additionally, students can experience what other individuals such as their patients feel when they are under their management. Consequently, they develop special emotions and attachments that are important in the care of patients and their interactions with these patients (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). The result is that students are prepared for future challenges that may affect their management of patients. These methods are also useful for educators that require teaching their students some concept that is not theoretically demonstrated.

The last method that may be useful in teaching nursing students is developing games in which the students are required to participate. Games may be developed for students to ensure that they grasp the important concepts in nursing care. Educators may develop games for their students where each of the students plays a special role in the games. These games contain special objectives related to clinical nursing or any other field of nursing (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). When developing the games for use as a learning method, educators need to consider the diversities in the group of learners (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). Additionally, these games should capture the different goals that the educators aim to achieve.

The rationale behind the use of games as a learning method includes the ability of students to participate actively in these activities. Games are often thrilling, and students can learn in an environment different from the classroom, Lecture Theaters or clinical areas. A change of learning environments in these games is known to improve their acquisition of clinical skills (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). In addition, games create a bond between students, their tutors, and the different participants (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). Therefore, this method of teaching is as effective as any other method.

Conclusion

In conclusion, nurse educators have a variety of methods that they could use to teach their students. These methods should consider the diversities in any group of students. Some of the teaching methods discussed include the use of group activities, simulations, role-play, problem-guided learning, and the use of games. The use of lectures alone is not beneficial to the learning process and should be used to teach complex theories. The paper also provides rationales for the different methods of teaching.

References

Billings, D., & J, H. (2012). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (4th Ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Saunders/Elsevier.

Callen, B., Smith, C. M., Joyce, B., Lutz, J., Brown-Schott, N., & Block, D. (2013). Teaching/Learning Strategies for the Essentials of Baccalaureate Nursing Education for Entry-Level Community/Public Health Nursing. Public Health Nursing, 30(6), 537-547.

Iwasiw, C., & Goldenberg, D. (2015). Curriculum development in nursing education (3rd ed.). Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett.

Jackson, D., Hickman, L. D., Power, T., Disler, R., Potgieter, I., Deek, H., & Davidson, P. M. (2014). Small group learning: Graduate health students’ views of challenges and benefits. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal For The Australian Nursing Profession, 48(1), 117-128.

Rahnavard, Z., Nodeh, Z. H., & Hosseini, L. (2013). Effectiveness of clinical teaching associate model in nursing education: Results from a developing country. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 45(2), 174-181.

Raurell-Torredà, M., Olivet-Pujol, J., Romero-Collado, À., Malagon-Aguilera, M. C., Patiño-Masó, J., & Baltasar-Bagué, A. (2015). Case-Based Learning and Simulation: Useful Tools to Enhance Nurses’ Education? Nonrandomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 47(1), 34-42.

Waltz, C. F., Jenkins, L. S., & Han, N. (2014). The Use and Effectiveness of Active Learning Methods in Nursing and Health Professions Education: A Literature Review. Nursing Education Perspectives, 35(6), 392-400.

Williams, B., McKenna, L., French, J., & Dousek, S. (2013). Measurement properties of a peer-teaching scale for nursing education. Nursing & Health Sciences, 15(3), 368-373.