Shaping the research experiences of graduate students using action research at a school of nursing in Jamaica

Nursing research capacity is often not optimal in developing countries. Capacity building at the graduate nurse level presents an opportunity for improved research output. Students pursuing a research methods course at a nursing school in Jamaica expressed fear and anxiety towards the course. Action research was used to address this fear and improve learning outcomes.

To determine attitudes towards research and to improve the experience of graduate students pursuing a research methods course at a nursing school in Jamaica.

Students (n=44) registered in the Research Methods course of the MScN at a nursing school in Kingston, Jamaica for the academic year 2010/2011, were invited to participate. Each student was assigned a main supervisor and an alternate supervisor and all had equal access to the course leader and content. On completion of the course three focus group discussions of 10-14 students per group were conducted to determine how students felt about the course experience and their attitude towards the course.

Thirty-seven students (mean age of 41.4 ± 1.5 years; 94% female) participated in the exploratory course evaluation exercise. The participants reported that they entered research methods with feelings of apprehension and anxiety. However, these fears were allayed by a combination of factors including interest in students' welfare, affirmation of students, respect for and understanding of students' needs and resourcefulness, and the use of a panel of experts. Barriers included faculty's unrealistic expectations of students' research competencies and the limited time in which to learn and apply concepts. While students thought the course as challenging they felt more confident that they could be successful on completion of the course.

Significant improvement in attitudes to research was realized among graduate nursing students using action research at an urban school of nursing in Jamaica.

Publication Year: 
Nursing Education Today
S0260-6917(13)00005-1. 10.1016/j.nedt.2013.01.004
Action research
Graduate students
Research methods