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Nursing students' perceptions of faculty support towards them in a university college setting : a descriptive exploratory study Dhillon, Samarjit

Abstract

The student-teacher relationship is an important component of a learning environment in any academic setting. Many qualitative studies have pointed to faculty support as an element of student-teacher relationship, which is important to the students. Understanding of students' perceptions of faculty support is lacking. The purpose of this study was to describe students' perspectives about faculty behaviors that are supportive or non-supportive. Six undergraduate nursing students from fourth year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program participated in this study. They were recruited through a university-college. Each student was interviewed for 45 to 60 minutes. The audio-taped, transcribed data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis. Eight major themes, each with several sub-themes, were identified from the analysis. The eight major themes were: feedback on students' performance, handling student errors, personal knowing between faculty and students, availability to the students, asking questions and responding to students' questions, supportive teaching strategies, impact of supportive faculty members on students, and impact of unsupportive faculty members on students. A discussion of the findings and the implications for nursing education and research is presented. The findings illustrate behaviors that nurse educators can use to establish positive relationships with their students. At the same time, the findings suggest that current nursing students' expectations for faculty may not be entirely realistic.

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