This qualitative study investigated the transformative experiences of nursing students in an associate degree program using narrative analysis research methods to describe the experience of learning during nursing education among 10 participants at a single research site. The study population was undergraduate nursing students in the final semester of study prior to graduation from an associate degree program at a small, private college. Data were collected through open-ended questions via audio-recorded interviews and analyzed according to the guidelines of narrative analysis. The major phases of Transformative Learning Theory guided the analysis of the narratives. No attempt was made to generalize the study findings beyond the participants being studied. The participants described their processes of learning through recounting stories of various academic and non-academic experiences. The study yielded 5 narrative threads that included: (1) stories of the multi-faceted process of learning, (2) stories of experiential learning, (3) stories of human interactions as central to defining nursing and caring, (4) stories that intertwine personal life experiences and nursing, and (5) stories of transformative learning. Results of the study identified that students perceived the greatest learning and transformation through experiential learning. Such experiences included caring for immigrants, children in lower socioeconomic environments, and patients with a variety of physical and mental health needs in numerous settings. Other participants described personal experiences that took on new meaning or contributed to learning as a result of academic experiences. Stories offered by the participants also revealed that many of the students came into the nursing program with a personal history of mission, service, and charity work. Faculty may not be aware of the compassion and experience the students bring into the clinical and classroom setting unless they take the opportunity to know their students. Such experiences have the potential to enhance a classroom and clinical environment, if the student is encouraged to share these experiences. Nursing faculty often encourage the students to build a trusting relationship with their patients. Likewise, faculty should focus on developing a trusting relationship with their students, in an attempt to foster their learning by exploring prior experiences with the student and possibly sharing with their peers. Future research studies should also focus on transformative learning in international settings, the simulation laboratory, through innovative clinical experiences and via service learning projects.
|Advisor:||Sharts-Hopko, Nancy, Todd-Magel, Catherine|
|Department:||College of Nursing|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Nursing, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Associate degree, Narrative analysis, Nursing education, Transformation, Transformative learning experiences|
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