The Learning Strategies in Nursing

Introduction

Learning and acquisition of the necessary skills is perhaps the most important undertaking when it comes to the provision of healthcare (Akbarov, 2011). In essence, the proficiency of a practitioner depends on his or her mastery of these skills. As such, it is critically difficult to develop healthcare provision without understanding the essence of learning and acquisition of knowledge. In addition, the contemporary world is affected by emerging health threats whose knowledge and understanding are insufficient. Whereas this is evident, more diseases and health challenges are continuously emerging. As a result, it cannot be disputed that nurses should be equipped with the necessary learning skills to ensure continuous and life-long insight as well as the pursuit to develop new understanding. In this light, therefore, this paper will discuss some of the learning strategies, assessment methods, and the treatment of diversity among students.

Discussion on Learning Strategies

Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning is another instructional method that facilitates learning among the students taking nursing. This strategy is aimed to equip nurses and staff with the capability to solve problems (Duch, 2001). Indeed, problem-solving is one of the required skills in the 21st century. When applying this strategy, educators present some of the problems incurred in the healthcare and diagnosis setting before introducing theoretical concepts. Essentially, the instructors find real patient scenarios and ask learners to seek and search for answers to the problems. As a result, students and staff members are aware of the problems in the field.

Case-Based Instruction

In a general sense, Case-Based Instruction might be misperceived as a duplicate of Problem-Based Learning. However, Case-Based Instruction is a completely different method as compared to Problem Based Learning. In this method, the educator first provides the content and concepts to the students (Crawford, 2005). The content is then used to analyze the problem scenario in the process of learning. This differentiates PBL from the CBI method of learning. In other words, the case-based instructions apply theoretical concepts to real-life scenarios. As such, nursing students are enabled to apply skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and clinical reasoning in a field-based setting.

Questioning Learning Strategies

Questioning is one of the instructional strategies used by educators to teach nursing students. Questioning becomes important when educators need to evoke critical thinking and creativity. Essentially, it is understandable that nurses must have the capability to innovate new ideas of providing care. The importance to develop new ideas is necessitated by the fact that the world is confronted with newly emerging diseases and health challenges (Caputi, 2004). As such, the nurses must develop their mental faculties to handle some of these emerging issues. Further, the theoretical stipulations in class are completely different from the ideal world. The ideal world presents challenges that do not have direct theoretical answers. As such, the nurses must have critical thinking skills to find realistic solutions. When instructing, therefore, the educators must keep posing questions to the nursing students.

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies for Program Effectiveness

There are various strategies that can be used in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the training and educational program. Essentially, some of them have been used widely and tested for effectiveness. As such, this paper presents five of the most effective and extensively used strategies.

Use of Peer Reviews

In the process of teaching, students’ colleagues form a good source of data and observations. When students undertake practical or conceptual tasks, their colleagues are allowed to assess their performance and understanding. As a result, the learners receive helpful information about their skills. This evaluation strategy is one of the most effective because students can criticize each other effectively without getting discouraged. If a student is criticized by the instructor, they might treat the evaluation with more weight as compared to peer reviews. In addition, peer reviews are not only methods of evaluation, but they are also tactics of sharing information and knowledge (Lewis & Doorlag, 2006). When a student is assessing the work of a colleague, s/he gets more information concerning the subject. Apart from the peer reviews, the evaluation can also be conducted using peer observations. Peer observations are very effective in nursing classes because they help to evaluate performance in practical classes. Understandably, nursing involves a lot of experimental learning obviously benefit from peer observations and the provision of feedback.

Self Assessment

Self-evaluation is another effective method of assessing practice in nursing classes and learning programs. In this case, students are taught and requested to assess their own work. This incorporates self-reflection which helps students to critically think about their skills and performance (McNally & Cunningham, 2010). In essence, peer reviews are completely unhelpful if the student cannot develop a personal reflection about their performance. In most cases, students are needed to write a reflection paper that requires them to write about their individual opinion on what they have learned.

Evaluation Using Student’s Assessment Tasks

Essentially, the assessment by colleagues and self is not enough to provide a satisfactory evaluation. This deficiency might be caused by the students’ insufficient understanding of the underlying concepts and skills (Morris, 2012). As a result, teachers require students to undertake various tasks in form of assignments. These tasks are meant to assess whether the students have achieved the learning expected outcomes and objectives. It enables the instructor to identify areas that should be repeated or emphasized.

Class-Based Performance Monitoring

Instructors use class time to evaluate the understanding of students instantly. In most cases, they pose questions and ask students to provide the correct answers. According to the answers provided, the instructor can identify the weak and strong students (Walsh, 2010). S/he uses the responses to determine the critical thinking capability as well as the areas that were not clear during the lectures.

Focus Groups Review

In order to undertake an in-depth evaluation, focus groups that include selected students are interviewed (Duch, 2001). In some cases, the selected students are brought together and asked to discuss some health concerns in public. The lecturer evaluates the students according to the ideas and arguments presented during the sessions.

How Nursing Educators Can Meet Needs of Diverse Students

In order to meet the need of a diverse student population, the nurse should first conduct a detailed demographic analysis. This will help to provide information concerning the nature of the population. After the analysis, the educators should conduct a need assessment in accordance with aspects such as language and teaching methods among others. When the educator gets this information, s/he should adopt a multi-dimensional teaching strategy. This strategy should be aimed to teach in a manner that involves all the existing segmentation. For example, if a class includes students from China, America, and United Arab Emirates, the teacher should use different cultural scenarios when giving examples. This tendency makes all the students feel included and own the class. In addition to this, the educator should choose a language that can be understood by all students. However, s/he should ensure that the language is used in its simplest form to prevent complications.

Educators’ Challenges when Meeting the Diverse Needs

Whereas the educators might embrace best practices to accommodate diversity, there are challenges that possibly confront them. First, the educators incur critical problems when dealing with different ages. Teens and adults prefer different modes of teaching and instructing. In particular, the teens prefer informal methods which do not portray a lot of seriousness in the process of teaching. On the other hand, adults might prefer a formal and respectful tone of communication. In regard to culture, diversity may make it difficult to balance between different behaviors. In some cases, the educator might present scenarios that agree with one culture and fault the other. As a result, it becomes very difficult to strike a balance across all the existing individuals in the class.

Conclusion

It cannot be disputed that learning is a crucial aspect when it comes to providing skills and knowledge to healthcare providers. In this case, there are various strategies for teaching and instructing in classes. These strategies include Problem-Based Learning, Case-Based Learning, and Questioning Strategy. Further, the educators are required to evaluate the students’ learning programs. Some of the crucial evaluation methods include Self-Evaluation, Peer Reviews, and Focus Groups Assessments. Lastly, the issue of diversity requires educators to conduct a demographic analysis, a need assessment, and a multi-dimensional teaching approach.

References

Akbarov, A. (2011). Languages for Specific Purposes in Theory and Practice. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Caputi, L. (2004). Teaching Nursing the Art and Science. Glen Ellyn: College of Dupage Press.

Crawford, A. (2005). Teaching and Learning Strategies for the Thinking Classroom. New York: International Debate Education Association.

Duch, B. (2001). The Power of Problem Based Learning a Practical for Teaching Undergraduate Courses in any Discipline. Sterling: Stylus Publisher.

Lewis, R., & Doorlag, D. (2006). Teaching Special Students in General Education Classrooms (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

McNally, K., & Cunningham, L. (2010). The Nurse Executive Coaching Manual. Indianapolis: Sigma Theta Tau International.

Morris, A. (2012). Transformative Learning in Nursing a Guide for Nurse Educators. New York: Springer.

Walsh, D. (2010). The Nurse Mentors Handbook Supporting Students in Clinical Practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.