For the majority of student practical nurses, a course on research sits low on the rung of a busy schedule filled with classes on nursing skills, pharmacology, anatomy, and clinical placements. In fact, student feedback questionnaires reveal that the majority of students are intimated or worse, uninterested in research that extends beyond their textbook material. In the classroom setting, the initial mention of academic journals, databases, literature searching and citation management is commonly met with a combination of blank stares or outright apathy.
In a Practical Nursing program, a formal research-based course is typically the first and only exposure students have to high-quality, evidence-based, academic journal and database content. Garnering engagement is essential at this critical juncture in students careers as nurses and allied health professionals.
This session will explore the pedagogy behind the capstone research course for student nurses at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. Critical Inquiry in Practical Nursing adopts an adaptive, bottom-up approach wherein students are exposed to research directly correlated to their experiences and observations in their clinical placements. Why has there been two outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis on my unit this semester? Why are nurses not complying with infection control standards? Why does this unit use paper medication administration instead of electronic? How can nurses ensure patients who are non-verbal are receiving optimal care and quality health outcomes? How do nurses cope with burnout, compassion fatigue and emotional labour? Often these questions go unanswered by their mentors or are tied to the habits, culture or unwritten rules of the particular healthcare setting.
Critical Inquiry is designed to equip students with the tools to pursue answers to clinical queries and profession-related issues with high quality evidence-based research. The overall goals of the course are learning to identify, understand, and critically analyze and evaluate evidence-based nursing research, as these skills are integral to informing and implementing nursing practice. Student success in the course has empowered graduates to pursue advanced credentials, effect change in clinical practice settings, and become nursing educators in their own right.
This session can not only be viewed as a case study in curriculum development and delivery, but used as a template to engage any new learners with the larger universe of evidence-based, academic research.
Attendees to this session will participate in key interactive learning activities drawn from Critical Inquiry with time allotted for context, criticism and questions.