Nursing Students and Effective Tutoring

Introduction to the Problem

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Learning and support are imperative to ensure that nursing students are sufficiently equipped to be fit for practice and an ability to provide high-quality nursing care. Nonetheless, most undergraduates encounter various challenges in the course of their studies, and for some, this may lead to contemplation of abandoning their studies. Whereas there could be no panacea to the challenges that nursing students face, effective tutoring is undoubtedly critical to both academic and practice environments in the nursing career. The study focuses on the use of alternative tutoring methodologies to enhance learning among nursing students. The alternative methods that will be considered include simulations and other virtual strategies of instruction. The approach should be incorporated with the traditional teaching methods to cater for different learning styles and needs, as well as addressing specific areas of the curriculum that have been shown to improve through the use of a particular instructional method. The integration of the educational approaches will also make it possible to target specific skill sets that will benefit from applying multiple teaching mediums. The purpose of this proposal is to focus on the contribution of effective tutoring in the enhancement of the learning outcomes for nursing students.

Literature Review

Effective tutoring occurs in different formats. In a mixed method study, Li, Petrini, and Stone (2018) examine the perspectives of baccalaureate nursing students towards peer tutoring in a simulation laboratory. The research comprised 58 nursing students from the HOPE school of nursing in China’s Wuhan University. The researchers used the Q methodology to obtain insights from the opinions of the student participants and quantitatively analyzed the outcome Q-sort data using a freeware application called PQ method. The Q method is a data analysis approach commonly used for evaluating subjective findings. It allows the identification of similar responses that would have otherwise been overlooked in other forms of qualitative data analysis. On its part, the PQ is a free software that allows sorting and analysis of qualitative data using the Q method. The findings revealed three discrete results of peer tutoring, including facilitating knowledge acquisition, establishing a supportive learning environment, and enhancing the ability of nursing students to learn (Li, Petrini & Stone, 2018). The researchers did not expressly recommend peer tutoring to strengthen teaching. However, they suggest the incorporation of simulation in the nursing curriculum to facilitate learning. Aebersold (2018) found that simulation enables students to acquire critical nursing skills. In addition, they become competent in their careers while their clinical reasoning abilities are enhanced.

Effective teaching has a positive influence on the learning experience of nursing students. Mathew-Maich et al. (2016) conducted an online survey of a population of 511 participants in focus groups comprising 19 baccalaureate-nursing students each and analyzed results using content analysis. The experiment aimed to determine the identifying characteristics of what makes an effective problem-based learning tutor. Nursing students revealed that tutors should embrace the five Ps of effective teaching, including person-centred, professional, able to prepare students, passionate, and prepared with knowledge and facilitation skills (Matthew-Maich et al., 2016). The researchers recommend that tutors should embrace the attributes to enhance the teaching and professional development of the students.

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On their part, Guerra-Martin, Lima-Seranno and Lima-Rodriguez (2017) focused on the unique population of at-risk student nurses. The nurses were students that had repeatedly failed their nursing courses and considered to be highly at risk of dropping out of the program. Under controlled experimental settings, the struggling students underwent at least nine meetings with a professor. The findings revealed that students were not only highly satisfied with the tutoring intervention, but their overall performance significantly improved. These outcomes suggest that tutoring is an effective method of ensuring that nursing students are learning effectively and that their performance meets the established thresholds of the discipline. For the proposed study, it is expected that the combination of tutoring with other alternative instructional methods identified in the literature will contribute towards the success of nursing students in their education through effective instruction.

Andeade, Rodrigues, Nogueira and de Souza (2018) explored the perspectives of professors and student on tutoring programs and found that academic tutoring has significant positive effects on the learning process. The responses were categorized into three broad groups based on the participants’ views. They indicated that academic tutoring is an instrument that strengthens the interplay between instruction and learning. Hence, tutoring has the potential to trigger social and academic changes of nursing students. The authors also found that the relationship between the professors and their students during tutoring could be attributed to the success of the program since dialogue is a crucial facilitator of effective learning.

Tutoring was also positively regarded by both the students and teachers because it essentially dismantled the barriers of traditional instruction and replacing it with a process where knowledge emerged through the collaboration of the teacher and student. In the traditional method, students act as recipients of knowledge from the instructor while the novel tutoring process focuses on creating conversations that enhanced learning (Andeade, Rodrigues, Nogueira & de Souza, 2018). Undoubtedly, students are more likely to retain information and skills acquired through the latter process since the interaction of the learner with the professor acts as positive reinforcement.

The characteristics of a teacher are arguably related to the overall performance of students. Mathew-Maich et al. (2014) embarked on a study that would prove the accuracy of the statement. Indeed, the researchers reported that students’ performance was significantly enhanced if the professor could motivate students to learn. Highly motivated students were keen and retained information longer. The specific tutor characteristics identified in the focus group study included proper preparation for tackling the subject, demonstrate passion and positivity, and proactively prepare students for academic success. Importantly, successful professors were also found to use the student-centered instruction method in which the learner was perceived as an integral component in the development and understanding of knowledge as opposed to being a docile recipient of content from the educator (Mathew-Maich et al., 2014). Enhancing the performance of student nurses, in this context, would require nursing educator training programs to focus on developing the specific characteristics that boost the motivation of students. Skillfully engaging students with the learning process and content will ensure that the learners perceive real value in their education while willing to work towards realizing their educational objectives.

The virtual classroom experience is synonymous with the advent of technology into the education system at various levels of study. A study by O’Flaherty & Laws (2014) on students from the University of South Australia reveals that external nursing students appreciate the use of synchronous face-to-face discussions to enhance the learning experience. The researchers used mixed methods of study to collect data on student learning experience and collect responses about their final grades. Educators should incorporate future initiatives to support virtual studies to increase retention of students in nursing courses.

Collaboration is a fundamental element in improving quality of care.  According to research, a sample of 67 nursing and 53 physiotherapy students offered that cross-professional peer tutoring and interprofessional teamwork can significantly enhance the learning and the teaching experience (McLeod, Jamison & Treasure, 2018). The study endorses the use of voluntary peer tutoring among students from related professions as a supplement to the acquisition of knowledge in nursing.

Nursing students have different perceptions before they join their respective undergraduate programs. These perceptions change in the course of their study. A quantitative survey of 1414 nursing students from four universities in the Netherlands examined the transformation of perception and the causes of the change in orientation and attitudes in four years. The results of the study indicated that the passionate desire to become nurses motivated the students to avoid attrition in the course of their studies. However, classroom experience and personal reasons play a significant role in shaping the perception of the students (Hoeve et al., 2017). Therefore, tutors should know the student perceptions and redesign their presentation of curriculum content to maintain student success.


The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee mandated by the Federal Government to safeguard the rights of the human subjects that undertake a research project. Educational and research institutions have IRBs to facilitate the research process and ensure that it meets specific criteria. The IRB plays an oversight role, provides guidance to protect human participants in a research process, and helps the researcher to comply with the applicable laws, policies, and regulations that govern the research process (Grady, 2015). An IRB review will be essential for this research. The study will entail the use of human participants and compliance with applicable laws is an integral component of undertaking the project. The board will also examine the research methods of the project to ensure that they are ethical.

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