Approaches to Study in Undergraduate Nursing Students in Regional Victoria, Australia

Stephen Brown 1 , Lara Wakeling 2 , Mani Naiker 2 ,  and Sue White 1
  • 1 School of Interprofessional Health Studies, Auckland University of Technology, Akoranga Drive, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2 School of Health Sciences, Federation University, Ballarat, VIC, Australia
Stephen Brown, Lara Wakeling, Mani Naiker and Sue White

Abstract

In developmental research to devise a strategy to identify students who may benefit from assistance with learning habits, approaches to study were explored in undergraduate nursing students (n=122) enrolled in a compulsory first-year course in physiology at a regional Australian university. The course constituted 30 credits (25%) of their first year of study. Using the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory (ASSIST), students were identified as adopting a deep (n=38, 31%), strategic (n= 30, 25%), or a surface (n=54, 44%) approach to study. Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha [α]) for deep, strategic, and surface was 0.85, 0.87, and 0.76, respectively. Subsequently, a cluster analysis was done to identify two groupings: a “surface” group (n=53) and a “deep/strategic” group (n=69). The surface group scored lower in deep (33.28±6.42) and strategic (39.36±6.79) approaches and higher in the surface (46.96±9.57) approach. Conversely, the deep/strategic group scored 46.10±6.81, 57.17±7.81, and 41.87±6.47 in deep, strategic, and surface styles, respectively. This application of the ASSIST questionnaire and cluster analysis thus differentiated students adopting a surface approach to study. This strategy may enable educators to target resources, for example additional tutorial opportunities, peer-assisted study support, and tutor-led seminar sessions aimed at encouraging students to adopt a less superficial approach to study.

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The International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship (IJNES) publishes significant research and scholarship in the broad field of nursing education. The mandate of the journal is to present high quality papers to advance nursing education through research, description of innovative methods, or introduction of novel approaches about all aspects of nursing education in a timely manner.

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