Nursing Narratives With Beginning Students in Non-Nursing Courses: Innovative, Interdisciplinary, Collaborative Teaching Strategies

Monday, 30 October 2017

Anna M. Waterman, PhD, RN
Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, OH, USA
Dale M. Hilty, PhD
College of Nursing, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, OH, USA

Most beginning nursing students do not understand the role of the nurse or have an accurate perception of what it means to be a nurse. Nursing students in many four year baccalaureate programs spend the first year in non-nursing courses and begin actual nursing courses in the second year of the program. Creative strategies such as the nursing panel experience with seasoned nursing faculty members are used to socialize the beginning nursing students enrolled in non-nursing courses into the profession of nursing. Having seasoned nurses use the narrative method is one such teaching/learning strategy to share “real world” nursing experiences and to help relate the course content to the practice of nursing. This helps the beginning nursing student to value the knowledge and content in the non-nursing courses. When these students hear the nursing narratives they can begin to imagine how they can use the course content in actual practice settings.

This interdisciplinary, collaborative technique in non-nursing classes promotes the socialization of beginning students in developing a realistic perception of the role of the nurse. This teaching innovation is one way to close the gap in the literature related to best practices in socializing beginning nursing students. There were articles found about socialization of students to the profession of nursing but they were typically with students who were taking nursing and /or clinical courses (Ware, 2008).

This interdisciplinary, collaborative teaching strategy is different and distinct because it allows for the beginning nursing student to not only achieve the objectives of the non-nursing class but it adds the deeper meaning and value of these non-nursing courses to their future nursing practice. Non-nursing professors work collaboratively with nursing professors to use the creative strategy of nursing narratives and guest speakers to elaborate on the role of the nurse (Bridges, 2011). The nursing professors on these panels then share their nursing experiences that relate to the content being covered in the non-nursing courses. This innovative teaching strategy has universal appeal and could be used with any nursing program- local, national or international with beginning nursing students.

Examples of strategies used to foster this collaboration include: nursing faculty on the panel being oriented to the content in the non-nursing class such as cultural diversity, a caring and respectful educational environment is promoted, students come prepared with questions from the required readings, observational learning occurs, all faculty present engage in discussion with the students, nursing panel members share their experiences related to the content, and students then reflect on the learning that took place (Bandura, 1986; Spector, 2013; Story & Butts, 2010). These are some of the multiple strategies used to engage students and faculty to promote success.

The outcomes from using this innovative, interdisciplinary, collaborative teaching strategy include the following: enhanced learning, positive student evaluations from the class, awareness of the role of the nurse, reciprocal connections, student and faculty satisfaction, increased knowledge of the profession of nursing, valuing the characteristics of the nurse such as trust, caring, genuineness and unconditional positive regard, and developing the self-concept of the nurse. These outcomes were derived from student evaluations and reflection papers following the class that were shared with all professors involved.

Having identified a gap in the literature regarding the importance of introducing the nursing perspective to beginning students in non- nursing courses, further research is necessary to develop the best practices for socializing beginning students into the profession of nursing.