Date of Graduation

1986

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the relationship between the clinical experience of baccalaureate nursing students and (1) the identification of accurate clinical nursing judgments, and (2) the development of professional identity. Sixteen students registered for a required clinical course completed data collection instruments. The eight students in the control group completed the clinical course as prescribed in the curriculum; the eight students in the experimental group received no assigned clinical experience during the block of time in which the intervention occurred. Subjects were asked to complete the following data collection instruments: (1) Student Learning and Development in the Clinical Environment (Christian, 1974); (2) Nursing Performance Simulation Instrument (Gover, 1971); (3) Patient Care Problem Simulation (Dincher & Stidger, 1976); (4) Two Essay Questions; (5) Clinical Experiences; (6) Demographic Data, and (7) Journal. The data gathered during this investigation were statistically analyzed using a one way analysis of variance to test the hypotheses. The first hypothesis, that there would be a statistically significant increase in the identification of accurate clinical nursing judgments as a result of clinical experience, was not supported. The second hypothesis, that there would be statistically significant progress in the development of professional identity as a result of clinical experience, was not supported. In addition to the data necessary to test each of the hypotheses, demographic and secondary data were collected and examined. No significant differences were found between the two groups prior to intervention, during intervention, or at the end of the intervention in respect to the demographic or secondary data examined. The results of this investigation have shown that clinical experience does not contribute to either an increase in accurate clinical nursing judgments, or foster the development of professional identity. In addition, the results of this study have provided information to cause researchers in nursing education to continue to question the value of the clinical component of the nursing curriculum. Nurse educators who continue to argue that clinical experience is an educationally sound requirement in the curriculum with documented learning outcomes have been given no support by the findings of this study.

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