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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 9, 2018

Graduate Students’ Experiences: Developing Self-efficacy

  • Francine Laurencelle EMAIL logo and Judith Scanlan


The nurse educator shortage continues without an increase in the numbers of graduate prepared nurses. Studies identified challenges in recruitment of nursing graduate students. No studies explore the experiences of nurses during graduate education. The framework used was Bandura’s self-efficacy theory. The population for this study included 15 nurse educators with a master’s or doctoral degree currently teaching in an undergraduate or graduate program in a western Canadian city. In semi-structured interviews, participants shared their experiences. Two themes emerged from the data: i) the hurdles of learning and ii) being a graduate student. The purpose of this article is to report the findings of faculty members’ experiences as graduate students. Understanding these experiences will help graduate faculty understand how graduate students develop self-efficacy throughout their graduate programs. Moreover, findings of this study will help graduate students succeed in a graduate program. Finally, issues related to recruitment and retention are addressed.


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A Interview guide

Graduate education:

  1. Please tell me about your experiences as a learner in graduate education.

  2. What was this experience like?

  3. When thinking back about your graduate education experience describe to me what factors motivated you?Mastery experience:

  4. Tell me about your successes in education in the past? Describe successes brought on by your own achievements.

  5. Describe what you believe is responsible for your success?

  6. How do you describe your self-confidence?

  7. How did this confidence help you during graduate education?Vicarious experiences:

  8. How does being with your peers contribute to your educational experiences?

  9. How did your peers influence your confidence in your graduate education experience?Social persuasion:

  10. Who provided you with encouragement to pursue your graduate education?

  11. Describe the feedback you received that persuaded you to continue your education?

  12. How did this feedback persuade you pursue your goals?

  13. Looking back were there any factors that discouraged you? How did you overcome them?Physiological and affective states:

  14. Describe your experience of stress during graduate education and how you managed it.

  15. Please tell me about some positive and some negative experiences during this time and how you overcame them.Attraction to academia:

  16. Please tell me what attracted you to work in nursing education.

  17. What factors influenced your decision to continue to work in academia?

  18. How do you feel about your role as a nurse educator?

  19. Do you see yourself changing employment if not why? If so why?

Received: 2017-06-08
Revised: 2017-12-11
Accepted: 2017-12-20
Published Online: 2018-01-09

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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