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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The essence of student-teacher connection in the student-teacher relationship in clinical nursing education Gillespie, Christine Mary


The trend toward humanistic nursing education has called for a transformed student-teacher relationship that fosters learning and growth of the teacher and the student. Although such a relationship has been purported to form the basis for student-teacher connection, there is an absence of research exploring student-teacher connection. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe undergraduate nursing students' experiences of student-teacher connection and the influence of student-teacher connection on the students' clinical learning experiences. The qualitative research method of interpretive description guided the study. Unstructured interviews and a focus group were used to collect data from eight senior and junior undergraduate nursing students. Data were analyzed using the process of constant comparative analysis. Analysis revealed four interrelated major categories that form a description of the students' experience of student-teacher connection: nature of connection, formation of connection, processes of connection, and outcomes of connection. The findings indicate that student-teacher connection is a positive influence on students' clinical learning experiences and their socialization as professional nurses. As well, connection has a value in and of itself that arises from the qualities of caring, knowing, trusting, respecting, and mutuality that are inherent in the connected student-teacher relationship. The connected clinical teacher is a positive influence on students' learning experiences. From a basis of compassionate competence and commitment to understanding students as whole persons, the connected CNT works with students in their learning experiences as a helper, advocate and coach, and supports their learning in a variety of ways. Within the connected relationship students are able to focus on learning, are highly motivated and enjoy their learning. Further, students are able to synthesize nursing knowledge and begin to understand and integrate the ways of knowing, being and doing that comprise the art and science of nursing. The formation of student-teacher connection is influenced by factors related to the student and teacher as persons, learner and educator, and nurses, as well as the "fit" between the two individuals in the relationship. Further, several processes, including mutual knowing, trust and respect, are essential to the development of a connected student-teacher relationship.

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