The effect of a template when constructing individual syllabuses in nursing education – An evaluation of student perspective in a mixed methods intervention study

Dorte Lindstroem Vilstrup, Helle Udsen Nielson, Anne Prip


Background: The individual syllabus is a mandatory part of clinical teaching in Denmark. The tool has been discussed in various settings throughout the nursing education. A literature search revealed that knowledge of how to work with it is minimal.

Objectives: To clarify and test the potential of the individual syllabus in a clinical setting.

Design: A mixed methods intervention study involving first year nursing students and clinical teachers. The intervention consisted of: 1) design of a template and a precise description, 2) testing of the template and description in the form of baseline and post-intervention questionnaires and a student focus group interview.

Results: By using a template, the students’ understanding of the purpose, their perception of the value and their sense of ownership of the individual syllabus are improved. The same results are not seen for the clinical teachers. The results point to the fact that there is potential for improving cooperation between clinical teachers and students concerning the tool. The majority of the clinical teachers, however, did find that the template improved the quality of the individual syllabus.

Conclusion: A template has the potential to translate the curriculum-based learning objectives into practical studies and, thereby, improve the gap between theory and practice. The importance of clinical teachers’ effect on the way students work becomes evident. The use of templates and structured tools in a pedagogical context is debatable but should receive more attention in the future.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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