Journal of Professional Nursing

Developing an Evidence Base for Teaching Nursing Practice Skills in an Undergraduate Nursing Program

Kathy Holloway RCpN, BN, MHSc. Nurse Lecturer, School of Nursing and Health Studies Whitireia Community Polytechnic


There is international concern over inadequate levels of nursing practice skill acquisition in undergraduate programs.  Preparation of student nurses in nursing practice skills prior to clinical placement reduces cognitive dissonance, enhances cognitive flexibility and thus facilitates skill acquisition.  This research was a contextually modified replication of the work of Alavi, Loh & Reilly (1991) in determining an evidence basis for selecting content for the clinical skills curriculum in an undergraduate programme.  Thirty-three senior nurse clinicians from medical/surgical areas in two large hospitals offering student placement were asked to rate the frequency of performance (frequently, occasionally, rarely and never) of 77 skills for the beginning registered nurse.  Those skills frequently used and rated over 65% were considered for inclusion in the undergraduate program - yielding 26 nursing practice skills.  Continued

undergraduate nursing education, practice laboratory, skills teaching

Current nursing literature reflects international concern over the standards of nursing practice skill acquisition in undergraduate programs (Neary, 1997; Packer, 1994; Stevenson, 1996).  There is public expectation for a certain level of technical competence, the development of which is the combined responsibiluity of the educational institution and the student (Dixon, 1996). Continued

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