Perceptions and Experiences of Nursing Students Enrolled in a Palliative and End-of-Life Nursing Elective: A Qualitative Study
Background The Carnegie Foundation has identified three professional apprenticeships in nursing that are key to helping students acquire a professional identity. These apprenticeships integrate knowledge acquisition (cognitive apprenticeship), practical experience (practical apprenticeship), and an ethical identity (ethical comportment) for guiding conduct. To ensure that patients have a good death, it is important that faculty incorporate diverse teaching strategies from all three apprenticeships into palliative and end-of life nursing education. Objective The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions and experiences of nursing students enrolled in a palliative and end-of-life nursing elective that was developed and implemented using the three professional apprenticeships. Design A qualitative research design was used to obtain data from students who completed the palliative and end-of-life nursing elective. Setting The study was implemented at a state supported baccalaureate nursing program located in the south eastern United States. Participants A purposive sample of 19 students who had completed the palliative and end-of-life nursing elective was included in the study. Methods After completing the course, focus groups were conducted with the student participants. Discussion was guided by questions to elicit which experiences were most helpful to student learning. Thematic analysis of the data was conducted by three researchers. Findings Three themes reflecting the apprenticeships were identified: learning from stories, learning from being there, and learning from caring. Students' understandings about end-of-life care were enhanced by incorporating teaching strategies addressing the apprenticeships. Conclusion In end-of-life nursing education, teaching strategies must provide meaningful connections between the student, course content, practical experience, and the dying patient.
Nurse Education Today
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