Problem Based Learning; an innovative ambition to address the ‘theory practice gap’ in Nurse Education
This project aimed to improve student experience and teaching within a clinical skills module, bridging the ‘theory practice gap’ to aid transition for future graduate level nurses. Applying an innovative, socio-constructivist approach to learning; Problem based-Learning (PBL), students rotated around four core cases (built collaboratively with stakeholders from practice) to meet the syllabus and learning outcomes. Working collaboratively with the University of Nottingham’s Graduate Entry Medicine programme, (who hold expertise with delivering PBL curriculum), tutors provided peer-to-peer support by observing the project team’s teaching (at Lincoln).
Each case was delivered over a fortnight period with students using morning seminars to explore the problems associated with a case. Gaps within the day provided opportunities to locate information; and findings were applied within clinical skills laboratories during afternoons. Prior to the next week; students were provided with an exacerbation to stimulate further learning and discussion. After another week, students had an opportunity to present to their findings to their PBL team. The process repeated over eight weeks to cover all four cases.
The evaluation outcomes indicated positive feedback on the use of PBL. Students report that they;
‘Loved how it really obviously linked theory to practice’ and ‘enjoyed the problem based learning’.
‘The module was fun and exciting and was extremely relevant to our future careers. I felt like this module has prepared me for scenarios in the future and has ensured I feel confident about becoming an autonomous nurse’
Students also reported that;
‘the [PBL] approach was very good as it enable students to learn from each other (peer learning) in the way the approach the case studies’. Students report that ‘the case studies gave real life cases to assess’ and was ‘how I thought the 3 years was going to be’.
The assessment approach for the module has been put forwarded for a ‘best practice’ example for an Assessment Framework Toolkit currently in development by the Director of Quality, Enhancement and Standards. In order to constructively align the PBL the assessment strategy needs to be linked to in-class test and essay.