A Comparison of Student-Centered versus Traditional Methods of Teaching Basic Nursing Skills in a Learning Laboratory

By Jeffries, Pamela R.; Rew, Sandy et al. | Nursing Education Perspectives, January/February 2002 | Go to article overview

A Comparison of Student-Centered versus Traditional Methods of Teaching Basic Nursing Skills in a Learning Laboratory


Jeffries, Pamela R., Rew, Sandy, Cramer, Joni M., Nursing Education Perspectives


IT IS GENERALLY AGREED THAT THE LECTURE AND DEMONSTRATION FORMAT THAT IS TRADITIONALLY USED TO TEACH BASIC NURSING SKILLS NEEDS TO CHANGE.

This method does not assure consistent delivery of content, nor accommodate the diverse learning styles of nursing students. All students must proceed at the same pace, regardless of interest, talent, demands on time, and prior experience. - As part of a

major curriculum change, faculty at the Indiana University School of Nursing.(lUSON) designed a self-paced, interactive, student-centered strategy to teach basic nursing skills in the learning laboratory. Because the use of new methodologies must not compromise the quality of education, a study was conducted to assess how well baccalaureate (BSN) nursing students learned basic nursing skills in two courses that covered equivalent content. In the newly designed course, an interactive, self-paced methodology was used. The other course used a teacher-controlled, traditional style of teaching.

ABSTRACT This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of two instructional methodologies in teaching basic nursing skills in the learning laboratory. One methodology used an interactive, student-centered focus; the other used traditional lectures and demonstrations. A repeated measures, experimental design was employed, supplemented by qualitative and questionnaire data. Seventy sophomore and 50 junior baccalaureate nursing students enrolled in their fundamentals nursing courses were recruited for this study at a large midwestern university during a period of curriculum revision.The students ranged in age from 19 to 51 years, with a mean age of 23 years.Two methods covering the same content were compared for teaching basic nursing skills.There were no significant differences between the groups' pretest to posttest cognitive gains, although there were cognitive gains for both groups.The groups also were similar in their ability to demonstrate the basic skills correctly in the learning laboratory. However, results showed significant differences (p = 0.01) by group in student satisfaction, with the interactive, student-centered group more satisfied with their learning methodology than the traditional group.

Background and Significant Information Indiana University had issued strategic directives to deliver education efficiently and effectively through creative and innovative teaching techniques. To redesign courses in line with these directives, IUSON conducted exit surveys with students and gathered information from alumni and supervisors who hired alumni. In addition, information was obtained about other nursing programs in the country.

The decision was made to develop an outcomes-based curriculum and begin the process of redesign with the nursing practicum course, the only skills-based course in the BSN curriculum. In this course, students learn and practice basic nursing skills in the laboratory setting and put them into practice in a clinical setting. Skills taught in the course include taking vital signs, medical and surgical asepsis, patient hygiene and bedmaking, the administration of oral and parenteral medications, intravenous therapy, tracheal suctioning, and urinary catheterization.

Traditionally, this course has been taught as B302, in a largegroup lecture format with accompanying laboratory practice times. It was renamed B249 Science and Technology: The Practicum when it was revamped in line with the new directives.

The Traditional Skills Course and Laboratory This course, offered to junior nursing students, taught a new nursing skill each week. Students would attend a large lecture class and a small laboratory section where approximately five students worked for two hours with a laboratory instructor. The first hour involved a question-and-answer review, led by the instructor, of material that students had read in advance. Then students individually demonstrated their competence on the skill emphasized that week. …

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