Learning Objective 1: Understand Japanese nursing students’ perception of their own caring and uncaring behaviors.
Learning Objective 2: Understand how these behaviors can be related to motivation to help theory.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Phenomenology design was used to examine how pre-clinical nursing students perceived their own behaviors in helping others. After informed consent was obtained, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 nursing students in a baccalaureate program in Japan. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed through labeling, coding, and categorizing to identify themes and patterns.
RESULTS: Nursing students discussed various situations in which they helped others, such as their family and friends, as wells as patients and their families in their part-time job. Students perceived their own behaviors as caring when they attempted to assess the needs of others and to provide the help in an effective way. These behavioral characteristics matched the defining attributes of altruistic motivation to help. On the other hand, nursing students perceived their own behaviors as uncaring when they could not come close to the person who is injured, ill, or depressed due to fear to see or be involved with such a person. These behavioral characteristics matched the defining attributes of egoistic motivation to help. Nursing students felt positive after the caring interaction and with the verbal and non-verbal positive feedback from the person they helped. On the contrary, the students felt negative after the uncaring interaction, and with the negative feedback from the person in need. Some of them expressed a feeling of guilt about not being able to meet the needs of the others. Some of the student even expressed their feeling of losing confidence or powerlessness.
CONCLUSIONS: Nursing educators need to be aware of how students perceive their behaviors, and become supportive to develop and regain students' confidence to care for others.
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