Caring : perceptions of students and a community college diploma nursing program
Doran, Karen Elizabeth
Master of Education
SubjectNursing students Ontario Attitudes
Nursing schools Ontario Evaluation
Nursing schools Ontario Faculty Attitudes
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While caring has been a recent focus of nursing and curricula for nursing education, little research exists on student and faculty perspectives of caring. There is a particular lack of research on caring within diploma nursing programs which prepare the majority of Registered Nurses in Ontario. This researcher sought to investigate to what extent a diploma nursing program in an Ontario community college, enables caring among its' students and faculty. What behaviours/practices inhibit and foster caring from student and faculty perspectives? A phenomenological approach was used to gain the student and faculty views of caring and uncaring experiences within the nursing program. Three senior nursing students and three full-time nursing faculty described their experiences of caring and uncaring, and the effects of these experiences on them. The descriptions were analyzed using a modification of Giorgi's method of analysis. Based on the findings, behaviours which inhibit and foster caring were identified. The meaning of caring for each participant and for the whole was described and a visual description of the structure of the meaning of caring is proposed. The visual description illustrates vulnerability as pivotal to the caring experience and the effect of behaviours which inhibit and foster caring on the extent to which caring is enabled. The emergence of the role and importance of the one cared-for and their freedom to be cared-for is discussed. Two categories of caring emerged from this study, day to day caring and caring in a crisis. The two categories of caring are compared to Noddings* (1984) discussion of 'rule-bound* caring and caring without rules. A question is raised regarding a relationship between faculty caring and the nursing students' apparent conflict with their image of a nurse and their image of themselves. Implications of the research include development of strategies to foster caring in practice and in education and the development of nursing curricula to incorporate theories of caring and qualitative approaches to learning. There are implications for faculty in terms of collegial relationships and as role models for students and each other. Further research on the notion of vulnerability in caring and what influences one to care or not care is suggested. Research focusing on the one cared-for and on the possibility of faculty-student research teams is recommended.