Reading and writing in nursing education

Ann M. Blakeslee, Sandra H. Hines, Sarah Primeau, Amy L. McBain, Joy Versluis, Rhonda L. McCaffery


Background and objective: Faculty identified the need for a gateway writing course (GWC) to prepare nurses for the writing requirements in the RN-to-BSN Completion (RNC) curriculum. This article describes the rationale for and development of a discipline-specific GWC developed for a RNC curriculum and reports research of student perspectives about the course and its effectiveness in preparing them to write in their nursing courses.

Methods: The mixed method study included pre- and post-course surveys of self-efficacy in reading, writing, and research skills.  Focus groups and interviews were used to identify readiness for and success in meeting curricular expectations for students who enrolled in the GWC and those who did not.

Results: Statistically significant improvement occurred in all self-efficacy measures (reading: p ≤ .005, writing: p ≤ .01, accessing articles: p ≤ .005) from the beginning to the end of the GWC. Focus groups and interviews revealed five themes indicating improved readiness in students completing the GWC. Themes included perceptions of readiness, awareness, and preparedness for nursing courses; perceptions of confidence, mastery, efficiency, and self-sufficiency; enhanced knowledge of and ability to navigate academic processes and resourses; mastery of APA; and evidence of a reflective mindset and an evolving sense of professional identity.

Conclusions: Students felt prepared for the RNC program after completing the GWC, and this sense of preparedness persisted throughout the program. The skills learned in the GWC allowed students to focus on understanding the professional concepts in nursing.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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