1 University of Western Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
2 University of Technology, Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
3 Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 3945-3946 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Background: In a pre-registration nursing education program, bioscience subjects can be challenging for some students, with the language and terminology reportedly making it difficult to learn. Recent studies described registered nurses as perceiving they receive insufficient bioscience content in their initial nurse education programs, although it has been shown that this knowledge is essential for the delivery of high quality care and influences patient outcomes. As it is crucial that nursing students understand pathophysiology to support safe practice in the clinical area, a template was developed to present a more structured approach to the teaching and learning of pathophysiology.

Aims: This study aimed to explore nursing students’ satisfaction with a new structured approach using a template to guide the learning of pathophysiology. We also sought to determine if student characteristics (age, first in family who attended university, English language proficiency, hours spent in part-time paid employment, level of academic engagement in the subject reflected by number of hits of the learning website; and academic performance in the final examination) were associated with satisfaction levels of the template approach of learning pathophysiology concepts.

Methods: We used a mixed methods approach, using a questionnaire with an open-ended question to survey both students and teaching staff following their experiences of using the template approach of learning and teaching pathophysiology. An 8-item ‘Students’ satisfaction of using pathophysiology template to guide learning’ (PATTERN) scale was used to measure students’ satisfaction.

Results: A total of 580 participants completed the survey and gave consent for their survey to be linked to their academic grades. The overall students’ perception of pathophysiology template as a guide to learning was positive, as indicated by the high mean PATTERN scale score. Although there was a significant positive relationship between score on the PATTERN scale and final examination performance (r=0.12, p=0.004), there were no significant positive or negative relationships between students’ satisfaction with the template and any other students’ characteristics. The qualitative findings indicated that students found the template created interest in the subject and the structure useful for summarising information and for revision. It also helped them understand the links between the case study and nursing practice. Some students, however, found completing the template time consuming. Teaching staff found the template innovative, relevant, precise and effective. There was also constructive feedback on how to improve the acceptability of the template for all students.

Conclusion: A structured approach to the teaching and learning of pathophysiology using a template has potential for providing the scaffolding of appropriate theoretical concepts for nursing students and the application of these to clinical practice. Wider use of the template in other pathophysiology subjects and different institutions is needed to find out whether it will facilitate the teaching and learning of pathophysiological concepts, essential for the delivery of high quality care.
Pathophysiology, academic performance, teaching strategy, learning strategy, nursing students.