What Happens When One Teaches or Learns a Family Systemic Approach to Nursing?: Evidence from a Practice-Based Study Involving Instructor, Students and Families in a Clinical Setting

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 8:50 AM

Danielle Charron, RN, PhD
Ecole de science infirmiere (School of Nursing), Universite de Moncton, Moncton, NB, Canada
Carole C. Tranchant, PhD
Ecole des sciences des aliments, de nutrition et d'etudes familiales (School of Food Science, Nutrition and Family Studies), Universite de Moncton, Moncton, NB, Canada

Learning Objective 1: Explain the educational theory presented and how it may relate to your experience of teaching, learning or otherwise using a family systemic approach (FSA).

Learning Objective 2: Identify ways to enhance your teaching, learning or use of FSA using the methods or results presented.

Purpose: Current developments in health care encourage nurses and other health professionals to better attend to the health needs of families, as a system of interacting individuals, when one of their relatives requires care. But the art and science of teaching and developing skills in family health care nursing remain understudied and little understood. This study aimed at uncovering how nursing students form their conception and mastery of family nursing, through interactions with instructors and families when a family systemic approach (FSA) is used; and how instructors can support students’ learning and help them integrate FSA in their clinical practice to enhance outcomes.

Methods: One instructor (first author), 12 fourth-year undergraduate students and 12 families (one/student) participated in a qualitative action research conducted in an educational setting involving a university and teaching hospital. Narratives, reflexive analyses and a systemic-constructivist approach were used to provide accounts of participants’ experience in teaching/learning FSA. Instructor and individual students met five times; students and families met three times. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. The instructor reflected on her practice of teaching FSA prior, during and after meeting with students, and documented her reflections. Data were subjected to thematic analysis.

Results: Conceptual categories central to the experience of teaching/learning FSA were identified and used to develop an educational theory that describes how participants co-developed their own mastery of FSA through engaging in four main interacting processes, namely narration, self-dialogue, discordance, creation and co-creation. Each of these interpretive processes is related to principles of clinical intervention, stages of learning and strategies of teaching and learning.

Conclusion: Study findings suggest that specific processes, engaging both self and others in transformational change, come into play when teaching and learning the fundamentals of FSA in nursing care. These new insights provide ways to foster skills development in family caregiving.