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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Nursing

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

February

First Advisor

GENEVIEVE CHANDLER

Second Advisor

JOAN ROCHE

Third Advisor

SALLY CAMPBELL GALMAN

Fourth Advisor

NONE

Subject Categories

Nursing

Abstract

ABSTRACT

KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERGRADUATE NURSING STUDENTS

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY FEBRUARY 2016

NANCY A. CRAIG-WILLIAMS B.S. ELMS COLLEGE, CHICOPEE, MA

M.S. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, AMHERST

Ph. D. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, AMHERST

Directed by Genevieve Chandler

ABSTRACT

The changes in the healthcare environment, safety concerns of the practice setting and patient acuity has supported reform and research to identify areas for improvement (IOM, 2001, 2003). The Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Nurses, A Call for Radical Transformation (Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V. & Day, L., 2010) explored the state of American nursing education. Among the findings are: patient safety issues, higher patient acuity, the increased complexity of nurse’s work, shortages of nursing faculty and clinical learning sites, the current and predicted shortages of registered nurses, and the chaotic, fragmented hospital work environment. The call to action is to improve patient care through transforming the education of undergraduate nursing students.

This study is a qualitative exploration of how nursing students develop practice knowledge in their undergraduate clinical experience. Clinical practice knowledge development is explored using the epistemological concepts of the discipline of nursing- empirics, aesthetics, ethics and personal knowing as described by Carper (1978), unknowing by Munhall (1984) and sociopolitical knowing as described by White (1995). The study utilized individual interviews exploring the learning processes of developing nursing practice knowledge by undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students from UMASS at Amherst who have had clinical experiences in both a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) and non-DEU clinical settings.

Change in the education of nurses must be guided by research to support best practices. Clinical education is a crucial aspect of the practice development of student nurses. The development of nursing knowledge comes together in a model of Synergistic Clinical Education, incorporating the identified attributes supporting learning: the student, learning environments and relationships. This study supports the utilization of Dedicated Education Units as a clinical education model providing an optimal learning environment in which the development of nursing knowledge and clinical practice is more likely to happen than in any other clinical experience setting.

Keywords: knowledge development, nursing students, clinical learning

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