Evaluating Nursing Students' Self-Efficacy in Writing Competency: Effects of a Structured Writing Intervention

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Louise C. Miller, PhD, RN1
Cynthia Russell, PhD, RN2
Bonita Selting, PhD3
Amy A. Lannin, PhD3
Elizabeth Moore, BSN1
(1)Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
(2)School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
(3)Campus Writing Program, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the role of self-efficacy and writing confidence in nursing students who are learning to write in the discipline.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to articulate a sequenced writing intervention to use with novice student writers to improve writing self-efficacy and writing skills.

Purpose: Strong nursing leadership is critical to optimal health care delivery. Nurses’ ability to effectively lead is in part dependent upon skilled communication, both written and oral. Yet formal preparation in writing is often assumed in undergraduate nursing education rather than explicitly taught. Evidence from composition studies and numerous disciplines, including nursing, indicates there is a strong link between students' reflective writing regarding work experiences and their critical thinking and problem solving skills. An important factor in achieving writing competence can be explained by having confidence that one can be a successful writer, as shown in studies using Bandura's Concept of Self-Efficacy to predict writing success. The purpose of this study is to test a structured writing intervention to determine its impact on writing self-efficacy in non-traditional undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students (RN-BSN).

Methods: Using a pre-post design, this study assesses writing self-efficacy in RN-BSN completion students during a 16-week Evidence-based Nursing Practice capstone course. The Post-Secondary Writerly Self-Efficacy Scale, scored on a continuum from 0% to 100%, is administered to student volunteers at the beginning and end of the course. Nursing and Composition faculty deliver the writing intervention using the 6+1 Trait Analytical Model© to guide students in a graduated sequence of writing experiences to promote development, reinforcement, and assimilation of skills. Three traits (ideas, organization, voice) are the first areas of focus, and later, inclusion of all traits (word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, presentation added) complete the intervention.  

Results: Change scores are analyzed using appropriate inferential statistics. Final results are available at semester end.   

Conclusion: Writing confidence in students can be improved when attention is given to writing assignments, sequencing, and evaluation.  This particular writing intervention is easily adapted to other nursing and inter-professional educational venues to foster writing skill development, an essential skill for professional leaders and scholars.