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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Clinical nursing teachers’ descriptions of the experience of partnerships with students Hornak, Maureena Lynne


Nursing education in British Columbia (BC) is currently being influenced by the philosophy of the curriculum revolution. Most nursing programs in BC have changed, or are in the process of changing, their curricula to reflect this philosophy. As a result, new relationships, called partnerships, are being formed between students and clinical nursing teachers (CNTs). Partnerships have developed from the influence of several different ideologies. At present, there is a limited amount of literature, and virtually no research, available on student-CNT partnerships in nursing. The purpose of this study was to explore the descriptions of CNTs' experiences of partnership with their nursing students and, as a result, gain an understanding of the nature of these partnerships and of the factors that influence the experience of these partnerships. An interpretive description design was chosen for the study because of its ability to acknowledge the constructed, contextual nature of experience while allowing for the shared realities of the experience. Five CNTs from two nursing programs in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, with at least one semester's experience in the "new" curriculum, were interviewed. Data analysis proceeded upon the completion of each of the first interviews and emerging preliminary conceptualizations were used as a basis for the second, final interviews. The findings of the study revealed each CNTs' experience of student-CNT partnership as one that was unique, complex, and challenging. The participants described student-CNT partnerships as basically honest relationships where trust had been created between partners. Partnerships required goals to set the direction of the relationship and partner responsibility and self-disclosure helped to ensure the proper functioning of a partnership. Quality partnerships included consideration of the constraints upon each partner's time. Although every partnership was unique, all partnerships possessed some measure of the essential qualities inherent in student-CNT partnerships. Qualities like partner reciprocity, valuing, risk-taking, and connection often enhanced and contributed to the success of a partnership between a student and a CNT. Other qualities like the state of equality and the presence of boundaries in partnership relationships, although complex in nature, could also contribute to more fulfilling, richer partnerships. There were many factors within each partner's background and personality that affected the course and ultimately the success of a student-CNT partnership. Student progress could also have an impact on the partnership relationship. Although learning was an ultimate outcome of student-CNT partnerships findings relating to learning were debatable. Health professionals' responses to student-CNT partnerships in practice settings were mixed. Partnerships ended when clinical rotations ended but often ongoing relationships of a slightly different nature and purpose continued between CNTs and students. The discussion of the research findings highlighted many implications for nursing education as well as generating a number of directions for future nursing research.

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