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Journal ArticleDOI

The Lived Experience of Students in an Accelerated Nursing Program: Intersecting Factors that Influence Experiential Learning

01 Apr 2011-Journal of Nursing Education (SLACK Incorporated)-Vol. 50, Iss: 4, pp 197-203

TL;DR: The goal of this interpretive research study was to articulate the lived experience of students in an accelerated master's of nursing entry program learning the practice of nursing within a clinical setting using interpretive phenomenological methods.
Abstract: The goal of this interpretive research study was to articulate the lived experience of students in an accelerated master’s of nursing entry program learning the practice of nursing within a clinical setting. Specific questions in cluded: How did previous life experiences, education, and career choices influence the experience of second-degree students? What were the potential effects on learning of condensing and accelerating the curriculum as is requisite in second-degree programs? Data from small group and individual interviews were collected and analyzed using interpretive phenomenological methods. Akin to the experience of tourists or new immigrants, students were confronted with new physical demands, new equipment, new time patterns, and most importantly, new ways of relating to people, all within a condensed time frame. What stood out most in these students’ accounts was the ubiquitous context of inpatient nursing care in which lives were at stake. A
Topics: Nursing care (63%), Experiential learning (59%), Curriculum (51%)

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San Jose State University San Jose State University
SJSU ScholarWorks SJSU ScholarWorks
Faculty Publications Valley Foundation School of Nursing
1-1-2011
The lived experience of students in an accelerated nursing The lived experience of students in an accelerated nursing
program: Intersecting factors that in<uence experiential learning program: Intersecting factors that in<uence experiential learning
Susan McNiesh
San Jose State University
, susan.mcniesh@sjsu.edu
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Part of the Nursing Commons
Recommended Citation Recommended Citation
Susan McNiesh. "The lived experience of students in an accelerated nursing program: Intersecting factors
that in<uence experiential learning"
Journal of Nursing Education
(2011): 197-203. https://doi.org/
10.3928/01484384-20101029-03
This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at SJSU
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Lived experience of students- 1
1
Running head: THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF STUDENTS
The Lived Experience of Students in an Accelerated Nursing Program: Intersecting
Factors that Influence Experiential Learning
Susan McNiesh, PhD, RNC
San Jose State University

Lived experience of students- 2
2
Accelerated nursing programs are becoming commonplace in response to the interest of
second baccalaureate degree students in nursing, as well as in response to the nursing shortage.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2005), accelerated baccalaureate
degrees in nursing (BSN) programs are the fastest growing type of entry level nursing programs
in the United States. Though not as prolific, as of a 2007 survey by AACN (American
Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2007) there were 56 master’s entry nursing programs
nationwide and 13 more were in the planning stages. Masters entry programs are appealing to
those with non-nursing baccalaureate degrees and prior career trajectories since these programs
build on these former skill sets and allow students to jumpstart and enter the field as advanced
practice nurses. These programs tap into a new and highly talented student population, yet many
schools have not tailored their curricula to meet the needs of this richly experienced group.
Literature review
Accelerated students fit the profile of adult learners (Cangelosi, 2007; Miklancie &
Davis, 2005; Seldomridge & DiBartolo, 2005), with a variety of life experiences (American
Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2005; Shiber, 2003) and self-motivation (Meyer, Hoover, &
Maposa, 2005; Miklancie & Davis, 2005). These students hold higher expectations of the
academic experience; therefore, they are intolerant of busy work, challenge faculty, and expect
current teaching practices (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2005; Cangelosi, 2007;
Miklancie & Davis, 2005). Yet they acknowledge the limits of their experience, and feel a strong
need for more clinical hours and more meaningful clinical experiences during their education
(American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2005; Cangelosi, 2007; Shiber, 2003; Weitzel &
McCahon, 2008). Student responses suggest that program pedagogies should acknowledge and
incorporate their prior life and educational experiences (Cangelosi, 2007; Shiber, 2003). The

Lived experience of students- 3
3
personal financial difficulties of full time study (American Association of Colleges of Nursing,
2005; Siler, DeBasio, & Roberts, 2008) and the stress due to the time limitations and workload
of an accelerated curriculum (Meyer, Hoover, & Maposa) are the main hardships reported. While
these studies give a demographic profile of students in accelerated programs and a snapshot of
students’ expectations and stressors during their course of study, there is scant current literature
on the day to day experience of nursing students in accelerated programs as they take up the
practice of nursing, and there is no current literature on the experience of master’s entry nursing
students taking up the practice during their course of study.
Study Design
The goal of an interpretive account is to develop a thick description (Geertz, 1973/2000)
that reveals a salient articulation of the lived experience of the study phenomenon. The
researcher provides a holistic account of the person in the situation and strives to describe and
interpret what was disclosed and what might have gotten ‘covered over’ (Heidegger, 1927/1962),
another way of describing tacit understanding. In addition, the lived experience of individuals in
situations gives the readers access to the culture because “the participant’s voice is not a
privatized, purely subjective voice but rather an embodiment and lived understanding of a world
and set of local clearings created by social groups, practices, skills, history, and situated events”
(Benner, 1994, pp. 100- 101).
Hubert Dreyfus (1999) describes three interrelated and foundational aspects of human
intelligent behavior within situations as: “the role of the body in organizing and unifying our
experience of objects, the role of the situation in providing a background against which human
behavior can be orderly without being rule-like, and finally the role of human purposes and
needs in organizing the situation so that objects are recognized as relevant and accessible”

Lived experience of students- 4
4
(p.234). In a comparable way there exist shared background understandings and newly formed
meanings for nursing students that include skills and practices, how students encounter and use
objects as equipment, and how students relate to others.
The overall goal of this interpretive phenomenological study was to articulate the lived
experience of students in an accelerated master’s entry program learning the practice of nursing
within a clinical setting. Specific research questions included: How did previous life
experiences, education, and career choices influence the experience of second degree students?
What were the potential effects on learning of condensing and accelerating the curriculum as is
requisite in second degree programs?
Sample
Following institutional approval, students from an accelerated master’s entry program in
nursing (MEPN) located within the western United States were purposively recruited for this
study. Eligibility was limited to students who were in the first year of the program at the
specified research site, were currently enrolled in a clinical practicum, and agreed to participate
in the study. Since more applicants were available than the target number desired, the
investigator chose subjects based on achieving a maximum representation along gender, racial,
and ethnic categories as well as background experiences of educational, employment, and other
personal factors (n=19). Achieving diversity in the sample is not essential for an interpretive
study, however it can provide a broader range of standpoints from which a particular experience
can be told (van Manen, 1990).
Data collection
Audiotaped interviews with the nursing students as well as observations of students in
their clinical roles were the major data collection strategies. Field observations of students

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Abstract: This paper illustrates the use of composite first person narrative interpretive methods, as described by Todres, across a range of phenomena. This methodology introduces texture into the presently understood structures of phenomena and thereby creates new understandings of the phenomenon, bringing about a form of understanding that is relationally alive that contributes to improved caring practices. The method is influenced by the work of Gendlin, Heidegger, van Manen, Gadamer, and Merleau-Ponty. The method’s applicability to different research topics is demonstrated through the composite narratives of nursing students learning nursing practice in an accelerated and condensed program, obese female adolescents attempting weight control, chronically ill male parolees, and midlife women experiencing distress during menopause. Within current research, these four phenomena have been predominantly described and understood through quantified articulations that give the reader a structural understanding of the phenomena, but the more embodied or ‘‘contextual’’ human qualities of the phenomena are often not visible. The ‘‘what is it like’’ or the ‘‘unsaid’’ aspects of such human phenomena are not clear to the reader when proxies are used to ‘‘account for’’ a variety of situated conditions. This novel method is employed to re-present narrative data and findings from research through first person accounts that blend the voices of the participants with those of the researcher, emphasizing the connectedness, the ‘‘we’’ among all participants, researchers, and listeners. These re-presentations allow readers to develop more embodied understandings of both the texture and structure of each of the phenomena and illustrate the use of the composite account as a way for researchers to better understand and convey the wholeness of the experience of any phenomenon under inquiry. Key words: Composite first person narrative, phenomenology, female adolescents, obesity, accelerated nursing program, male parolees, reintegration, healthcare, distress, menopause (Published: 12 April 2011) Citation: Int J Qualitative Stud Health Well-being 2011, 6 : 5882 - DOI: 10.3402/qhw.v6i2.5882

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  • ...Currently, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory is used as the standard quantitative measure for student anxiety (Bremner et al., 2008; Gore et al., 2010; McNiesh, 2011)....

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  • ...The purpose of measuring and identifying anxiety in nursing students is to identify potential barriers to learning and the application of critical thinking (Gore, Hunt, Parker, & Raines, 2010; McNiesh, 2011)....

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  • ...Experiential learning often requires acquisition and use of complex psychomotor skills that, in turn, create student anxiety (Bell, 1991; McNiesh, 2011; Nelson & Blenkin, 2007)....

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  • ...Within this community of learners, students sensed the ways in which the transformations in themselves and their classmates were both personal and social as they shared and negotiated meanings of their practical experience in the clinical setting (Lave & Wenger, 2006)....

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  • ...The students’ rich and varied backgrounds, intelligence, shared goals and beliefs, and their intensity all contributed to enriching their shared experience of taking up the practice of nursing in an accelerated learning community (Lave & Wenger, 2006)....

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  • ...Rather, practical knowledge is learned through concrete clinical encounters alongside practitioners with more learning while doing within a concrete clinical situation (Lave & Wenger, 2006)....

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  • ...Interpretation proceeded by moving back and forth between parts and whole, between my initial forestructure and what was being revealed (Geertz, 1973/2000), creating iterative cycles of understanding (Benner, 1994) As initial interviews were interpreted, lines of inquiry were delineated and these…...

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  • ...Study Design The goal of an interpretive account is to develop a thick description (Geertz, 1973/2000) that reveals a salient articulation of the lived experience of the study phenomenon....

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