Being There: Undergraduate Nursing Students' Perceptions of Nursing Presence

Monday, 9 November 2015

Carol Toliuszis Kostovich, PhD, RN
Jeanne Van Denack, MSN, RN
Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of nursing presence during a medical-surgical clinical rotation.

Significance/Rationale: Nursing presence is defined as the physical and emotional availability of the registered nurse to the patient. Technological advancements coupled with an emerging nursing workforce comprised of a technology-dependent millennial generation could potentially threaten the emotional connection between nurse and patient. Few studies have explored nursing presence from a student perspective.

Methods and Analysis: The phenomenon of nursing presence was presented during an undergraduate junior level medical-surgical nursing theory course. Thirty-two students enrolled in this course participated in the study. On the last day of the semester, students responded in writing to 4 open-ended questions asking about their observations of nursing presence during their clinical rotation. Data were coded by two nurse researchers, first separately, then collaboratively. The 12 items from the Presence of Nursing Scale-RN “Being With” subscale, representing the emotional connection between nurse and patient, served as the codebook to guide the analysis.

Results: Narrative comments by students represented all 12 items on the “Being With” subscale. Some elements of “being with” the patient were described frequently, while other elements were expressed less frequently.

Conclusions: Junior-level undergraduate nursing students are able to recognize and recount their experiences of nursing presence during a medical-surgical clinical rotation.

Implications: Teaching undergraduate nursing students to recognize nursing presence can serve as the foundation for teaching patient-centered nursing care delivery. Other methodologies for introducing this phenomenon to students, including simulation, should be explored.