An exploration of the perceptions of caring held by students entering nursing programmes

Authors: Rosser, E.A., Hemingway, A., Harding, A., Jack, E., Cooper, K., Phillips, J., Scammell, J., Heaslip, V., White, S. and Donaldson, I.

Start date: 2 September 2013

Background: Within the UK, the nursing profession has received substantial negative media coverage in recent years highlighting cases of abuse and neglect of patients. As nurse education moves to an all-graduate intake by September 2013 across the UK, there has been an increased focus on the adequacy of education in preparing them for their future role. Indeed, coupled with continued radical change in the National Health Service and the Higher Education sector, providing evidence that health service and educational interventions are effective will increasingly become a fiscal, social and political priority. Furthermore, in this increasingly mechanistic world of growing technology and drivers to meet measurable targets for healthcare, an effective balance needs to be achieved to encourage a refocus of nurse education. This refocus should consider the development of effective communication skills for competent professional practice underpinned by a compassionate and caring attitude to self and others (Firth-Cozens & Cornwell 2009), to deliver client-centred care from a humanistic perspective. Hemingway et al (2012) and Scammell et al (2012) suggest that the majority of nurses who enter the profession do so because they are altruistic and are intent on providing a good standard of care. However, it is unknown how or to what extent professional and core values are shaped over the duration of a three year nursing degree.

Aim/purpose: This presentation summarises the findings from the initial phase of a six phase longitudinal study establishing new nursing recruits’ personal beliefs about the core values for, and of nursing.

The full study seeks to explore the impact of an innovative nursing curriculum based on a humanising framework to establish how, or to what extent, professional and core values are shaped over the duration of a three year nursing degree Methods: Individual interviews will be undertaken with a cohort of adult nursing students (n=21) in order to explore their beliefs about the core values of nursing as they commence their pre-qualifying programme. Of this group, 4 (18%) are mature students (over 35 years) and 16 (73%) have experience as healthcare Assistants. Data will be collected in February 2013, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically before reporting. Ethics approval has been granted and students have been prepared through formal written invitation including a participant information sheet and consent form. Findings: It is anticipated their beliefs will be wide and varied and be influenced by a range of factors depending on their life experiences. It is planned to follow up these students at significant points throughout their programme and compare the findings with students on a new curriculum based on a humanised philosophy.

Conclusion: It is anticipated the findings will be of interest to stakeholders in education and practice. These will help educationalists to find ways of positively influencing the student experience in support of developing their value base and future professional practice.

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