Nursing students' perceptions of factors that facilitate or impede knowledge application in the clinical laboratory

Date of Completion

January 1993


Education, Community College|Health Sciences, Nursing|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




The purposes of this investigation were: (1) to identify nursing students' perceptions of factors that facilitate knowledge application in the clinical laboratory; (2) to explore nursing students' perceptions regarding differences in the clinical experience that relate to minority/racial status and (3) to suggest curriculum components and processes that facilitate knowledge applications in the clinical setting based on the findings of the study.^ A naturalistic inquiry paradigm was used for this study. The analysis of the qualitative data was completed by using the constant comparative grounded theory approach of Strauss and Corbin (1990). One NLN accredited associate degree nursing program, eight first level student nurses and four staff nurses were participants in the study.^ From the field notes of student observations in the clinical setting, interviews with the staff nurses, tape recordings of the student interviews, and other artifacts fourteen themes emerged from the data. From these themes, five facilitating factors and eight impeding factors were identified.^ Similarities and difference in students' perceptions regarding differences related to minority/racial status can be attributed to how it was viewed, e.g., as a previously acquired knowledge, as a process, or as an attitude. The data point to a need for research in the area of attitudes, i.e., do attitudes of clinical faculty affect evaluation of minority students' performance in the clinical experience?^ Implications for seven major initiatives derive from this study. First, the findings suggest that the faculty must encourage higher levels of critical thinking in both the classroom and clinical settings. Second, the clinical sites utilized for student learning require a more in-depth evaluation as a place for student learning. Third, the importance of the student/staff relationships must be acknowledged and enhanced in every way. Fourth, a more intense evaluation of clinical faculty is needed. Fifth, efforts to effect greater congruity between theory and clinical experiences must be intensified. Sixth, discussions of ways to assure that race and ethnicity do not play a role in evaluation of minority students must proceed apace. Seventh, once this absence is assured, students who wrongly harbor this suspicion must be disabused of the notion that it has a basis in fact. ^