Place of Publication
School of Nursing and Midwifery
In Australia there are two entry levels in nursing: the Registered Nurse (RN) and the Enrolled Nurse (EN). Nursing education research is predominately focused on higher education for Registered Nurses and postgraduate nursing students; as a result, the educational preferences of Enrolled Nursing students in the vocational education and training (VET) setting have not been identified. Enrolled Nursing students have some distinct educational needs as they transition through education into the workforce due to their diversity in learner characteristics and backgrounds. As the role of this group continues to expand in the workplace to meet the demands of the health workforce, attention to the educational preparation of this cohort of learners is relevant and timely. This requires identifying targeted educational strategies to support learner preferences for the planning and delivery of education to these students. A qualitative research study using focus groups was undertaken to identify specific learner preferences for teaching modalities among Enrolled Nursing students in a Diploma of Nursing program. A thematic analysis of the data identified the following five main themes: a variety of teaching and assessment methods; educator-directed or guided learning; practical application and simulated learning; face-to-face learning; and closer integration of theory to clinical practicum. The main focus of these learners was preparation for workplace settings. The findings have implications for education strategies in the diploma program, in terms of planning the program structure and its delivery; teaching and learning methods; educator development; development of practical and clinical skills; experiential learning; and the promotion of skills for independent and lifelong learning, the latter being essential preparation for professional nursing practice.
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