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Are first year undergraduate student nurses prepared for self directed learning?



Are first year undergraduate student nurses prepared for self directed learning?



Nursing Times 106(46): 21-24



Changing demands on the nursing workforce have led to considerable changes in undergraduate nurse education. Nurse educators have sought to incorporate self directed learning (SDL) into the curriculum to encourage student nurses to be proactive in their learning needs. To identify first year students' experiences and perspectives of SDL, and to determine whether they are prepared for it. The study involved one cohort of pre-registration first year student nurses at the University of Wolverhampton. A questionnaire was used to identify their expectations, understand the reasons for different rates of learner progress, and identify ways that students learn best. A literature review was also carried out to explore SDL research and understand the concept in nurse education. The majority of the study participants had heard of SDL but lacked understanding of its concept, purpose and nature. Students were also unclear about what their role as a self-directed learner would involve, and a lack of clear direction for SDL in the curriculum was identified. SDL can be used to assist student learning in conjunction with methods that are teacher led. The progression to SDL requires a shift in emphasis from teaching to facilitation, and the views of nurse educators about their role in SDL need to be explored in depth. A clear strategy for introducing SDL into the nursing curriculum is required. It should also be adopted in a systematic manner in order to address the variations in students' educational attainment upon entry to their undergraduate courses.

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