Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

A Pilot Study to Measure the Caring Efficacy of Baccalaureate Nursing Students

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

A Pilot Study to Measure the Caring Efficacy of Baccalaureate Nursing Students

Article excerpt

RESEARCH EFFORTS TO BUILD A SCIENTIFIC BASE FOR CARING IN NURSING HAVE FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON NURSE BEHAVIORS IN PARTICULAR PATIENT POPULATIONS AND ATTEMPTS TO ARTICULATE THE POSITION CARING HOLDS WITHIN THE DISCIPLINE. Caring is often described as the essence of professional nursing. It is characterized by intentionally formed relationships and competencies developed over time through self-reflection, observation of role models, and experience (2). * Principles and practices of relationship building, whether labeled therapeutic or simply relationships, have long been a component of nursing education programs. Bevis and Watson have challenged nurse educators to move toward a caring curriculum, with a focus on faculty-student relationships, teaching-learning principles and practices, and curncular design (3).

ABSTRACT Caring in professional nursing, often described as the essence of nursing, has gained increasing attention over the past several decades. Many programs claim to be based on a caring philosophy and practice. Despite the expectation that graduates of nursing programs will develop relationships with their patients and practice within a caring framework, evaluation of caring competencies is not well developed. The purpose of this pilot study was to measure the self-reported caring competency of baccalaureate nursing students using the Coates Caring Efficacy Scale (CES) (1). Students from prenursing courses to final semester seniors completed the CES (N = 193). Mean scores in this cross-section of students were higher than those reported by Coates for novice student nurses, but slightly lower than those Coates reported for comparable baccalaureate seniors. Final semester seniors identified their families as making the greatest contribution to their development of caring; only a few reported the influence of the nursing curriculum. This study, while limited to students in one program, provides beginning evaluative data of self-reported caring competencies of nursing students.

Key Words Caring - Caring Efficacy - Educational Outcomes Nursing Education

THE NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR NURSING continued this focus on caring in the nursing curriculum in their vision for nursing education, calling for curricular reform "with caring and humanitarianism as core values rather than the dominations of technology" (4, p. 11). The Commission on a Workforce for a Restructured Health Care System, commissioned by the NLN Board of Governors, reported that there was a need for interdisciplinary education with teams that worked together to meet health needs of the population (5). The Interdisciplinary Health Education Panel, also commissioned by the NLN, provided more detailed approaches to how to implement the vision, including the expectation that interdisciplinary team members would develop competency in relationship building (6).

With this continued focus on caring, or relationship building, in the curriculum, many schools of nursing implemented curricula that included caring or relationship-centered care as a curricular thread. Nevertheless, despite the expectation that graduates of nursing programs will develop relationships with their patients and practice within a caring framework, measurement of the caring abilities of nurses remains elusive. In the years since Bevis and Watson's book was published, there have been few reports of the impact of the movement toward a caring curricula. At the present time, however, measurement is a primary focus in nursing education. It essential that nursing programs develop and test instruments that can provide evidence of the efficacy of the curriculum in facilitating student development of caring abilities.

The purpose of this pilot study was to measure the selfreported caring competency of a cross-section of baccalaureate nursing students in one nursing program using the Caring Efficacy Scale (1). The questions guiding the pilot study were: What are the caring competencies of the baccalaureate nursing student as measured by the CES (1) across the program of study? …

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