Adult educational principles and strategies employed by nursing staff development educators within the hospital milieu: An exploratory study

Date of Completion

January 1991


Health Sciences, Education|Education, Adult and Continuing|Health Sciences, Nursing




This exploratory study was conducted to describe the realm of teaching strategies currently employed by nursing staff development educators within the hospital setting, to identify the perceived effectiveness of such strategies and to measure the degree of support for the collaborative teaching-learning mode. The independent variables of age, educational level and years of teaching experience were identified for exploration as well. The non-random sample consisted of 124 nursing staff development educators from two New England states who agreed to participate in this mail survey. Data was collected via The Nursing Staff Development Educator Questionnaire which was comprised of researcher developed inquiries and the Principles of Adult Learning Scale, (Conti, 1978). Content validity of the questionnaire was established via expert panel review by ten nursing and/or adult educators.^ Data collection methods yielded a response rate of 74%. Results indicated that the typical respondent was female, 40 years of age with at least a baccalaureate degree and 7 years experience in staff development. A total of 26 traditional and non-traditional strategies were evaluated by respondents. Those perceived to be most effective included: skill demonstration, preceptor programs and clinical discussion groups. Least effective included classroom lecture, program instruction and films/slides. The analysis of PALS yielded x = 147.41, SD 16.84. A reliability coefficient, r =.8, was established via Cronback's Alpha statistical procedure. Stepwise multiple regression analysis identified the independent variable of educational level as significant in explaining PALS scores for this sample (Mult R =.220, p =.015). Recommendations for future studies include: administration of PALS to a larger sample of nurses in various educational roles, investigation of other variables associated with reported teacher-learning behaviors and further refinement of a classification of effective staff development methodologies. ^