Connecting Art with the Research Process

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 3:45 PM

Sharon M. Melincavage, DEd, RN, ANP-BC, CNE
Nursing Department, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA

Learning Objective 1: describe the creation of an artform as a dependability strategy for research.

Learning Objective 2: explain how to incorporate art into the research process.

Purpose: Some student nurses are unable to perform when anxious.  Anxiety is an obstacle to learning.  This qualitative phenomenological research study helps nurse educators to understand the meaning of anxiety in student nurses in the clinical setting.  The purpose of this study was to better understand student nurses’ perception and meaning of this anxiety.  Situated cognition learning theory is the theoretical framework.  The premise of situated cognition is that the learning process is connected to the situation where the learning is occurring. 
Methods: Since qualitative research focuses on understanding the meaning of experiences, a qualitative phenomenological study was appropriate for understanding how student nurses make meaning of their anxiety in the clinical setting.  The purposeful sample was seven student nurses who experienced anxiety.  A face-to-face interview with each participant was the primary tool used to collect data.  Another method of data collection was the creation of a metaphor where the participants expressed their anxiety in the clinical setting artistically.  Immediately following the creation of their artform, a focus group interview occurred.  The data collected during the focus group interview became part of the data collection.  This second method of data collection was a dependability strategy.  The data were analyzed using a thematic analysis.
Results: Seven themes emerged from the data and were reported in the rich descriptive words of the participants: Experiencing Inexperience, Being Demeaned, Being Exposed, Unrealistic Expectations, Being Abandoned, Sensing Difference, Being Uncertain of Ability.
Conclusion: Among the findings there are instances of anxiety that are expected in any learning environment such as performing skills and peer competition.  However, anxiety about interactions with staff, physicians, and faculty is unexpected.  An increased awareness of these situations can help to alleviate student nurse anxiety and enhance their learning.