Clinical Skills in Undergraduate Nurse Education: Transforming and Harnessing Student Engagement through Problem Based Learning utilising a Blended Teaching Approach
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a transformative effect on teaching and facilitating clinical skills within undergraduate nursing programmes. Traditionally, clinical nursing skills have been taught face to face in the Department of Nursing and Health Care in South East Technological University (SETU), however, due to the pandemic, skills content has had to be taught through a blended format, predominantly on-line. The curriculum remained unchanged, with clinical skill content to be delivered, and learning outcomes which were required to be met. There was significant pressure to deliver skills teaching in an effective way despite the enforced change due to the pandemic restrictions on face-to-face teaching. Online student engagement was a priority for the working group as active engagement has been shown to enhance students' motivation to learn and increase students' satisfaction in achieving their educational goals. Furthermore, positive student engagement can reduce the sense of isolation and lend itself to improved students’ performance.
This paper provides an overview of how some of the academic team of a higher institute of technology, in the Republic of Ireland, creatively met these challenges, through on-line delivery and a blended learning approach. The module teams utilised the application of Problem Based Learning (PBL), underpinned with a philosophical framework based on Critical Social Theory (CST) principles. In order to achieve this, an acronym was devised, namely RAPID (Recognise, Assessment, Plan, Interventions and Discuss). The students were supported to develop a Portfolio of Clinical Scenarios, to enhance their learning which empowered the students to further develop their critical thinking skills.
Recommendations include a problem based learning and interdisciplinary structured nursing approach to patient assessment using the acronym RAPID. This enabled students to develop their problem-solving skills. Therefore, applying it to real world problem-based patient case scenarios, which can enhance student motivation and engagement.
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