ArticleLiterature Review

Writing Requirements Across Nursing Programs in Canada

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Abstract

The emphasis on scholarship in nursing, demands for evidence-based practice, and attention to writing have raised the profile of academic writing within nursing curricula. This article provides a comprehensive review of English and writing course requirements across 81 English-language baccalaureate nursing programs in Canada. The data were gathered from a review of nursing programs and curriculum information from university and college Web sites. Of the 81 programs, 39 (48.1%) require neither an English literature course nor a writing course, 15 (18.5%) require an English literature course, and 32 (39.5%) require a writing course, including five programs that require a discipline-specific writing course. Discipline-specific writing courses appear to be useful adjuncts to writing-across-the-curriculum initiatives in nursing and will help students to develop the research and writing skills needed to succeed both academically and in a career in which nursing scholarship and evidence-informed practice are increasingly valued and expected.

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... www.stlhe.ca relatively recent work (Andre & Graves, 2013) surveying writing teaching in nursing programs at Canadian colleges and universities: this article, along with our own parallel database searches, showed decades-old patterns in the literature (in English) regarding nurses and writing. Several common threads quickly emerged. ...
... For example, Troxler, Jacobson Vann, and Oermann's (2011) statement that "[w]ritten communication skills are critical for nursing practice" (p. 280) reflects general scholarly consensus on this point (Andre & Graves, 2013;Smith & Caplin, 2012;Zygmont & Schaefer, 2006;Zorn, Clark, & Weimholt, 1997). In surveying this consensus, Andre and Graves (2013) thus concluded that "nursing programs have an obligation to ensure that nursing students are taught how to write well" (p. ...
... 280) reflects general scholarly consensus on this point (Andre & Graves, 2013;Smith & Caplin, 2012;Zygmont & Schaefer, 2006;Zorn, Clark, & Weimholt, 1997). In surveying this consensus, Andre and Graves (2013) thus concluded that "nursing programs have an obligation to ensure that nursing students are taught how to write well" (p. 91). ...
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In this essay, we tell the story of how a team of English and nursing professors came together to develop curriculum for a mandatory first-semester writing course in the collaborative Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) at Fanshawe College and Western University, both in London, Ontario. The discussion focuses on the implementation of the course at the Fanshawe site. Following a review of literature that has informed our thinking about writing in nursing, we discuss how the team, consisting of both English/writing and nursing faculty, solved curriculum problems to develop an effective course. We also look forward to areas for future development.
... To succeed in training in the professions, students must master the academic literacy (Carter, Ferzli & Wiebe, 2007), and the distinct specialist language of their field (Woodward-Kron, 2008). Academic writing is the means by which students learn how to locate, interpret and evaluate evidence, and contribute to the scholarship in their field (Andre and Graves, 2013). Writing becomes an essential tool for knowledge transformation and utilization in higher education programs (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1987). ...
... With the contemporary emphasis on evidenced-based practice and the role of writing to learn in professional education in Canada, identifying current knowledge gaps is required to better understand how to assist ESL learners. Educational strategies, such as writing courses within Canadian health professions, for example, nursing, vary greatly with mixed results in learning outcomes (Lum et al. 2014; Andre and Graves, 2013). Furthermore, teaching strategies which enhance the learning outcomes for ESL learners in university courses with multiple writing assignments are not well-developed (Weaver and Jackson, 2011). ...
... Writing serves two crucial ends: it promotes the integration of course content by demanding evidence of the students' transformation of knowledge and not merely the retelling of knowledge, and it functions as the principal means for evaluating students' knowledge through written products such as essays and exams. In occupation-specific programs such as nursing and medicine, research and writing skills are essential for academic success and employment (Andre and Graves, 2013; Song and Stewart, 2012). While developing students' writing expertise in the professions has been well researched in many contexts (Russell, et al., 2009; Thaiss and Porter, 2010), less attention has been paid to fostering writing competence on the part of ESL students in the professions (Hafernick and Wiant, 2012). ...
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KEY MESSAGES The ability to read and communicate clearly in writing in the health workplace is critical to the professional advancement of individuals and their effectiveness in their profession. It is essential that postsecondary learning institutions ensure their students develop the necessary skills. Traditional ESL courses have proven to be less than effective in preparing ESL students to accomplish the discipline-specific coursework and meet professional employment standards. The importance of the project is its focus on promoting academic literacy which is a key strategy in resolving the high levels of mismatch between immigrants’ previously acquired educational level and the required level for employment in Canada. Academic writing presents a challenge for many Canadian-born students but it is an even greater challenge for immigrant students educated outside of Canada since English is an additional language in that they lack familiarity with communicating in a Canadian professional context. An additional factor creating more challenges is in developing academic literacy including the fact that every academic community has specific ways of constructing knowledge and expressing opinions. The overall objective of the project was to synthesize the current state of knowledge of educational strategies in order to develop adequate and sustainable curricular infrastructures that promote academic literacy skills for ESL students in pre-employment programs. Of the three health professions studied in this review, nursing has conducted the majority of research into ESL student learning needs. Pharmacy and medicine may require similar levels or types of academic literacy. However, the current information does not provide sufficient evidence to draw any conclusions. Several promising practices to promote academic literacy of health professions students in general that could be applied to the ESL population were identified. These include discipline specific and reflective writing, and writing across the curriculum assignments. Analyses of health professions program websites illustrated that while all academic programs recognized the diversity of the educational backgrounds and language learning history of their potential students, the English language requirements, that is, the level of competency, varied widely across professions and between institutions. Academic literacy can be assessed using a variety of methods. Although the use of standardized language tests such as TOEFL and IELTS tests is commonly used, there is little evidence supporting their effectiveness. Effective methods to evaluate the English language histories and program readiness need to be developed. The literature review illustrated that there are substantial knowledge and research gaps addressing the academic literacy needs of ESL students in health professions higher education programs in Canada and other English-speaking countries. A key finding highlighted that the development of academic literacy by ESL learners is a long term process, possibly taking up to seven years and requires skilled educational strategies to assist them in acquiring these skills. This suggests that program changes are needed to accommodate the longer learning process and the need for strategic educational interventions. There is insufficient recognition of this finding in the health professions programs examined in this review.
... The discipline of nursing acknowledges that most writing instruction is situated within English departments or conducted by generic writing experts (Andre & Graves, 2013;Hanson Diehl, 2007;Luthy, Peterson, Lassetter, & Callister, 2009), which ensures that nursing's disciplinary values, discourses, and conventions will not be nurtured in the instructional process of learning to write. Disciplinary discourse perspectives of writing recognize that writers situate the language choices they make, their stance, and their knowledge within the tacit social context of their discipline (Hyland, 2004). ...
... Thus, much of my perspective on writing has developed over 15 years from working with and listening to the writing fears, frustrations, and elations experienced by my cohorts of students. Only 6% of Canadian nursing programs offer a discipline-specific writing course (Andre & Graves, 2013). I was the course developer for one of those courses. ...
... In Canada, most writing instruction in nursing programs occurs through generic writing courses, English literature courses, or a combination of both. In 48% of programs, no writing instruction is required (Andre & Graves, 2013). The failure of the generic one-size-fits-all approaches to writing instruction is often evidenced by student descriptions of their difficulties attempting to transfer their writing knowledge from one discipline to another (Chaudoir, Lasiuk, & Trepanier, 2016;Lea & Street, 1998). ...
Article
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Background: Although the quality of student writing is often lamented by faculty, writing instruction is an area of nursing education that has received little attention. Nursing programs rarely teach writing from a disciplinary perspective, and promoting the drilling of basic skills, such as grammar, has failed to engage student writers. Method: A critical examination of the history of writing research, the nursing academic context, and the epistemology of writing as meaning making will provide the rationale behind a need for a new perspective on nurses' writing. Results: A model to support socially constructed writing is proposed, which explores the writer's identity, relational aspects of writing, creative and emotional knowing, and the writing context. Conclusion: This article continues the conversation about re-visioning and enhancing the value of writing within the nursing profession. The knowledge created while writing can contribute to stimulating thinking, decision making in practice, and identity formation of nurses. [J Nurs Educ. 2018;57(7):399-407.].
... Discipline-specific writing instruction has been acknowledged as the preferred method for introducing students to nursing's unique discourse through allowing opportunities to practice higher level thinking strategies such as critical analysis. (Andre & Graves, 2013;Luthy, Peterson, Lassetter, & Callister, 2009;Oermann et al., 2014) However, empirical testing of this relationship is lacking likely because so few discipline-specific writing courses are offered in nursing curriculums.Andre and Graves (2013), who investigated the nature of writing instruction in nursing programmes in Canada, identified that only 6% of programmes included a discipline-specific course. Close to half of programmes had no required writing course and the remainder required a generic writing course, an English literature course, or both. ...
... urse through allowing opportunities to practice higher level thinking strategies such as critical analysis. (Andre & Graves, 2013;Luthy, Peterson, Lassetter, & Callister, 2009;Oermann et al., 2014) However, empirical testing of this relationship is lacking likely because so few discipline-specific writing courses are offered in nursing curriculums.Andre and Graves (2013), who investigated the nature of writing instruction in nursing programmes in Canada, identified that only 6% of programmes included a discipline-specific course. Close to half of programmes had no required writing course and the remainder required a generic writing course, an English literature course, or both. Thus, research evidence i ...
Article
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Aim To explore if writing self‐efficacy improved among first‐year nursing students in the context of discipline‐specific writing. The relationship between writing self‐efficacy, anxiety and student grades are also explored with respect to various learner characteristics such as postsecondary experience, writing history, English as a second language status and online versus classroom instruction. Design A one group quasi‐experimental study with a time control period. Method Data was collected over the 2013–2014 academic year at orientation, start of writing course and end of writing course. Results Writing self‐efficacy improved from pre‐ to post writing course but remained stable during the time control period. Anxiety was negatively related to writing self‐efficacy but remained stable across the study period. Inexperienced students and students with less writing experience, appeared to over‐inflate their self‐assessed writing self‐efficacy early in the programme. This study gives promising evidence that online and classroom delivery of instruction are both feasible for introducing discipline specific writing.
... Sprenger (2013) found that pre-tertiary writing courses in the US focused on literature writing and short essay style questions, which were unprofitable to nursing students. Andre & Graves (2013) claim that nearly 40% of Canadian nursing students are required to complete a writing course in order to improve their writing skills. However, general English literature courses do not provide students with the skills essential for nursing specific writing tasks (Andre & Graves, 2013). ...
... Andre & Graves (2013) claim that nearly 40% of Canadian nursing students are required to complete a writing course in order to improve their writing skills. However, general English literature courses do not provide students with the skills essential for nursing specific writing tasks (Andre & Graves, 2013). The Australian study by San Miguel et al. (2013) suggests that academic performance of students with a lower English proficiency would be improved through discipline specific academic tasks rather than focusing on improving language skills. ...
Article
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The authors would like at acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Mrs. Melissa Burley, School Librarian (Nursing and Midwifery) at Western Sydney University for providing expert assistance in searching for the literature used in this review.
... Sprenger (2013) found that pre-tertiary writing courses in the US focused on literature writing and short essay style questions, which were unprofitable to nursing students. Andre and Graves (2013) claim that nearly 40% of Canadian nursing students are required to complete a writing course in order to improve their writing skills. However, general English literature courses do not provide students with the skills essential for nursing specific writing tasks (Andre and Graves 2013). ...
... Andre and Graves (2013) claim that nearly 40% of Canadian nursing students are required to complete a writing course in order to improve their writing skills. However, general English literature courses do not provide students with the skills essential for nursing specific writing tasks (Andre and Graves 2013). The Australian study by San Miguel et al. (2013) suggests that academic performance of students with a lower English proficiency would be improved through discipline specific academic tasks rather than focusing on improving language skills. ...
... This scholarly writing course is one of six discipline-specific writing courses associated with baccalaureate nursing programs across Canada (Andre & Graves, 2013). Course dynamics involve instruction of students from multiple regional, international, and cultural backgrounds. ...
... The discipline-specific approach and scaffolding method explored in this research discuss the experience of introducing the scholarly expectations of writing within one baccalaureate nursing program. The nursing education literature purports discipline-specific writing courses as the superior method of writing instruction for nursing programs (Andre & Graves, 2013;Gimenez, 2012;Luthy et al., 2009;Oermann et al., 2014), but there continues to be limited research to support this claim. The ability to discuss nursing's evidenced-based knowledge fluently is justification that learning to write proficiently may be able to influence clinical competence. ...
Article
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Background: Very few studies measuring writing self-efficacy or anxiety in undergraduate nursing students exist in the education literature. The purpose of the present investigation was to identify if changes to writing self-efficacy and writing anxiety will occur in first-year baccalaureate nursing students who are exposed to a discipline-specific scholarly writing course employing scaffolding strategies as the primary instructional method. Concurrently, this study was the pilot test for a new measure assessing writing self-efficacy, The Writing Self-Efficacy Scale. Method: A one-group pre-test/posttest design was employed. Sixty-four (64) paired questionnaires were available for analysis. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and a scaffold process theory guided the study. Results: Anxiety improved from pre-test to posttest (p = .005). Writing self-efficacy improved and was near significant (p = .051). Writing self-efficacy at pre-test predicted 15.4% of the variance in final self-reported grade on the scholarly paper (p = .001). Students who reported writing their paper late or last minute reported significantly higher writing self-efficacy compared to students who reported adhering to the paper task schedule (p = .021). There were no differences in writing self-efficacy scores based on student past experience with writing or their help seeking activities. Conclusion: First year nursing students can benefit from taking a discipline-specific writing course incorporating scaffolding as an instructional method as both writing anxiety and writing self-efficacy can potentially be improved in this population. However additional research is required to support this claim.
... In keeping with this tradition, the project team sought to create space in the curriculum for disciplinary specific writing practice and feedback. An important advantage of a disciplinary specific approach is that students learn the conventions of writing that will be relevant in their nursing studies (Andre and Graves, 2013). ...
Article
In recent years the higher education sector in Australia has been increasingly concerned with ensuring that the English language proficiency levels of students are commensurate with the academic and professional tasks that they must perform. In many universities, this heightened attention to language proficiency has driven changes to teaching and learning practices. This paper reports on a project to embed academic literacies development into a core first year subject within a Bachelor of Nursing program in a large, culturally and linguistically diverse, metropolitan university. Prior to the commencement of their nursing program 747 students completed a Post Enrolment Language Assessment. Students who required additional support were advised to enroll in tutorials which included an additional literacy focus. These tutorials were part of the normal tutorial program for this nursing subject. Students with lower level language skills who attended the streamed tutorial with additional literacy support showed a greater improvement in their written communication than those with similar language proficiency who attended non -streamed tutorials. Evidence suggests that this improvement was transferred into writing tasks in other non-streamed subjects. The findings reported in this paper highlights that discipline specific embedded strategies are an effective approach to the development of academic literacies.
... Few studies have been performed on strategies used in nursing programs to improve students' writing skills. Andre and Graves (2013) examined English and writing course requirements across baccalaureate programs in Canada. Among the 81 programs surveyed, 39 (48.1%) did not require a writing or an English literature course. ...
Article
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The purpose of this article is to describe the outcomes of a systematic review of educational programs and strategies for developing the writing skills of nursing students and nurses. Of 728 screened citations, 80 articles were included in the review. Writing assignments in nursing courses were the most common, followed by strategies for writing across the curriculum and specific courses to improve the writing skills of nursing students. To improve nurses' writing skills, workshops were used most frequently. Only 28 (35%) of the articles were databased, and most articles described the writing program, strategy, or assignment but did not evaluate its effectiveness. [J Nurs Educ. 2015;54(x):xxx-xxx.]. Copyright 2014, SLACK Incorporated.
... Nurse educators write about the need for excellence in core writing skills in graduating nursing students (Andre and Graves, 2013;Stevens et al., 2014;Troxler et al., 2011). Educators advocate for strong communication skills that are foundational for frontline nurse care-givers, advanced practice nurse roles, and successful nurse leadership. ...
... This is a communication barrier that has previously received minimal attention in the literature. Indeed, the importance of academic literacy has been described as a means to develop higher order critical analytical skills, such as critique and synthesis, which are often developed through course writing assignments (Andre & Graves 2013). Academic writing, which reflects critical thinking ability which is an essential skill for nurses, is a major component of most nursing education programs irrespective of the course content (Troxler et al. 2011). ...
Article
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Aim: The overall goal of this study was to explore internationally educated nurses' perceptions of the English language and nursing communication skill requirements in a Canadian bridging education program. Background: The increased global mobility of nurses creates a need to address the educational needs of migrating nurses. A large percentage of these nurses require additional language and professional education. New research is needed that would represent an in-depth analysis of their educational experiences associated with learning academic English and Canadian nursing communication. Introduction: Developing proficiency with a new language has been documented as posing challenges for new immigrants. Since language proficiency is a key requirement of Canadian nursing regulatory bodies, previously unrecognized barriers such as attitudes and beliefs about required English language and nursing communication competency which may hinder their ability to meet local practice standards need to be explored. Method: Using a grounded theory study design, narratives from 22 participants from the Philippines, Nigeria and Europe enrolled in bridging education were collected and analysed. Results: The participants identified the incongruence in professional norms between Canada and their home country as a major challenge. The major themes identified included cultural dissonance, academic literacy challenges and skepticism regarding unexpected communication competency requirements. Discussion: The participants possessed varying degrees of comprehension and acceptance of new educational and professional regulatory requirements. A certain degree of culture shock, which may be associated with frustration and disillusionment, is a typical and anticipated aspect of the immigration process. Their perceptions need to be recognized and accommodated when assisting internationally educated nurses to integrate into the Canadian practice culture. Limitations of the study: Any generalizations to other host countries need to be made cautiously. Conclusion and implications for nursing policy: Clear communication from regulators about English language and nursing communication requirements during the pre-arrival period is recommended. If bridging education is required, these programs need to be designed to address English language competency and nursing communication skills of non-native English speakers.
... In the post-registration nursing program at the University of Hong Kong, incorporating academic writing skills into an introductory information literacy course provided the students with a more comprehensive skill set and decreased concerns that many practicing nurses have upon returning to school. (10) In their review of writing requirements for nursing programs in Canada, (8) found that programs providing discipline specific writing courses early in their curriculum allowed the students to develop the research and writing skills needed to succeed academically. ...
Article
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Scholarly writing is an essential skill for nurses to communicate new research and evidence. Written communication directly relates to patient safety and quality of care. However, few online RN-BSN programs integrate writing instruction into their curricula. Nurses traditionally learn how to write from instructor feedback and often not until midway into their baccalaureate education. Innovative strategies are needed to help nurses apply critical thinking skills to writing. The authors discuss a collaborative project between nursing faculty and technical communication faculty to develop and implement a writing course that is 1 of the 1st courses the students take in the online RN-BSN program.
... Second, undergraduate nursing education is traditionally rooted in the application of clinical skills and critical thinking, with little focus on writing. [8,9] This is a direct reflection of a curriculum concentrated on providing students with the cognitive knowledge, affective attitudes, and psychomotor skills needed to provide safe, direct patient care, which often offers minimal training or mentoring on effective scholarly writing. [10,11] As a result of these systematic curriculum issues across the programs of study, some faculty attempt to design and test educational interventions with the goal of improving student writing. ...
Article
Background and objective: Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) students are trained to integrate both clinical care and evidence-based research in order to bring together science with application. However, the educational pathways in DNP programs can be problematic, especially with regards to scholarly writing. While several interventions have been utilized for DNP students, the results show that the intervention(s) used should be tailored to the specific student body being served. However, limited evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of tailored interventions on improving central concepts such as writing self-efficacy. Given these differences in the design and delivery of the DNP curricula, we created a tailored educational-writing curriculum for new DNP students at a medium-sized academic medical center in a Southern state.Methods: We assessed changes in writing self-efficacy over the three measurement intervals using linear mixed effects modeling to account for within-student clustering of writing self-efficacy scores over time.Results: Baseline scores of writing self-efficacy improved immediately after the workshop (Timepoint 2 – immediate post-test) and a full semester later (Timepoint 3 – semester post-test). However, we observed no statistically significant difference between Timepoint 2 (immediate post-test) and Timepoint 3 (semester post-test).Conclusions: We saw a significant benefit in writing self-efficacy among incoming DNP students from baseline scores. The tailored format and integration of real-life anecdotal feedback from faculty may have been fundamental to creating an increase in writing self-efficacy among students—a concept foundational to student, and possibly professional, nursing success.
... Few studies have been performed on strategies used in nursing programs to improve students' writing skills. Andre and Graves (2013) examined English and writing course requirements across baccalaureate programs in Canada. Among the 81 programs surveyed, 39 (48.1%) did not require a writing or an English literature course. ...
... Few studies have been performed on strategies used in nursing programs to improve students' writing skills. Andre and Graves (2013) examined English and writing course requirements across baccalaureate programs in Canada. Among the 81 programs surveyed, 39 (48.1%) did not require a writing or an English literature course. ...
Article
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The authors systematically reviewed the nursing literature for articles describing substance use disorders (SUDs) education in schools of nursing. Five literature databases were searched, producing 3107 retrieved articles, of which 12 were included in this review. A Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument score was calculated for each study. The included studies demonstrated that teaching nursing students about SUDs produced a positive impact on their attitudes, knowledge, and skills.
... The skills learned reduced the need for nursing faculty to teach writing skills, allowing them to focus more fully on enhancing understanding of professional concepts in nursing. Andre and Graves [31] note that "discipline-specific writing courses . . . will help students to develop the research and writing skills needed to succeed both academically and in a career in which nursing scholarship and evidence-informed practice are increasingly valued and expected" (p. ...
Article
Background and objective: Faculty identified the need for a gateway writing course (GWC) to prepare nurses for the writing requirements in the RN-to-BSN Completion (RNC) curriculum. This article describes the rationale for and development of a discipline-specific GWC developed for a RNC curriculum and reports research of student perspectives about the course and its effectiveness in preparing them to write in their nursing courses.Methods: The mixed method study included pre- and post-course surveys of self-efficacy in reading, writing, and research skills. Focus groups and interviews were used to identify readiness for and success in meeting curricular expectations for students who enrolled in the GWC and those who did not.Results: Statistically significant improvement occurred in all self-efficacy measures (reading: p ≤ .005, writing: p ≤ .01, accessing articles: p ≤ .005) from the beginning to the end of the GWC. Focus groups and interviews revealed five themes indicating improved readiness in students completing the GWC. Themes included perceptions of readiness, awareness, and preparedness for nursing courses; perceptions of confidence, mastery, efficiency, and self-sufficiency; enhanced knowledge of and ability to navigate academic processes and resourses; mastery of APA; and evidence of a reflective mindset and an evolving sense of professional identity.Conclusions: Students felt prepared for the RNC program after completing the GWC, and this sense of preparedness persisted throughout the program. The skills learned in the GWC allowed students to focus on understanding the professional concepts in nursing.
... Nursing programs approach writing instruction in various ways. Andre and Graves (2013) identified that in Canada, 48% of baccalaureate nursing programs had no mandatory writing courses included in their curriculums, 39.5% required a generic writing course, 18.5% required English literature, but only 6% required discipline-specific writing instruction, despite discipline-specific approaches being the preferred method. Two previous reviews of the literature (Oermann et al. 2014;Troxler et al. 2011) identified that most of the writing instructional methods discussed in the nursing literature were reported in anecdotal format, while only a third were evaluated for effectiveness. ...
Article
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Objectives: This study explores patterns of writing self-efficacy fluctuation across three academic years in a baccalaureate nursing program. The goal was to assess if writing self-efficacy predicted program grades. Design: Longitudinal exploratory design. Setting: Three-year accelerated nursing program in a college setting in Canada. Participants: Follow-up cohort included 49 students; 32 (65.3%) synchronous in program progression and 17 (34.7%) had become asynchronous between first and third year. Methods: Data was collected five times between August 2013 and May 2016 at program admission, the start of their discipline-specific first-year writing course, the end of the writing course, start of third-year, and the end of third-year. Variables assessed included writing self-efficacy (two measures), writing anxiety, entrance degrees of reading power (DRP) scores, final college cumulative grade point average (GPA), and grades earned on first, second, and third-year papers. Results: Writing self-efficacy statistically significantly improved from the start of the nursing program to the finish (p < .001). Writing self-efficacy fluctuated decreasing from post first-year writing course to the start of the third-year, returning to or exceeding end of writing course levels by the end of the third year. Students who progressed normally through the program (synchronous) were academically stronger (paper grades, DRP, GPA scores) and had higher writing self-efficacy scores than asynchronous students. Using hierarchical regression, DRP scores and synchronous/asynchronous status in the program made a larger contribution to the prediction of final program GPA and paper grades, while the inclusion of writing self-efficacy in the models made a minor contribution to overall variance. Conclusions: Writing self-efficacy will fluctuate based on context and complexity of writing demanded in academic programs. Second and third-year students require continued support with writing beyond an introductory course. Programs should attend to developing reading comprehension in students as part of their across-the-curriculum writing plans.
... While often classified as a "soft" skill (Ray and Overman 2014), communication is nonetheless also recognized by others as core competency that is of paramount importance to collaborative, error-free patient care (Suter et al. 2009). With regard to writing skills, research has shown that nursing students often have gaps in their writing abilities, and that BScN programs should include opportunities to address those gaps in an effort to promote career progression in the years after graduation (Andre and Graves 2013;Feltham and Krahn 2016). ...
Article
Board games continue to increase in popularity and the pedagogical value of games has been repeatedly supported. Games keep students engaged and the level of engagement translates directly into time spent playing, and correspondingly, time spent reviewing course material. Therefore, game play is expected to result in greater student success. The Survival of the Physiologist: An Anatomy and Physiology Game involves competition between teams, with opportunities for collaboration among players. Anatomy and physiology students (N=50) rated the game 4.4 + 0.8 on a scale of 1-5. Educators who played the game at the HAPS workshop (N= 41) rated it 3.78 + 0.78. Additionally, beta tester educators (N=4) rated it 4.5 + 0.9 in their own classrooms. Ninety-one percent of students surveyed and 82.9 percent of educators rated it a good tool for learning the material of A&P. Among the HAPS educators at the workshop, question coverage was ranked at 4.39 + 0.76 with 90.2% of them indicating the level of difficulty was just right. Currently we are discussing developing a computer version of the game.
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Background and Purpose: This investigation reviews the item content of writing self-efficacy (WSE) measures developed for undergraduate students. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and a writing theory by Flower and Hayes informed the a priori themes used to develop a template of WSE categories critical to the concept. Method: Articles describing WSE measures were identified through CINAHL, PsychINFO, ERIC, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar (1984 to 2015). A template analysis method was used to analyze 182 individual items present on 11 WSE instruments. A nursing perspective was applied. Results: The analysis identified 16 categories influencing WSE as well as gaps in current measurement items. Conclusion: The theoretical examination of WSE is the first step toward the development of a WSE measure specific to the nursing context and contributes to nursing education by advancing the measurement of WSE.
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Background: Developing reflective writing skills is an essential competency in nursing. Nursing schools recognize the importance of promoting scholarly thinking and academic writing amongst their student yet, there is a large gap in the tools and opportunities students receive to help them master these skills during their baccalaureate studies. Method SIMPLE is an innovative and interactive web based tool introduced in first year that can help nursing students prepare university papers both written and oral. Aim of the study: To discover how students learn to use the tool, what barriers affect proper use of the tool, and what role faculty plays in ensuring students' successful use of the tool. The study also sought to explore students' perception in regards to the contribution of the tool to improve their academic work. Research method used: Data was collected using two research methodologies. Method SIMPLE has a built-in satisfaction survey at the end of each of the six modules that provides quantitative and qualitative data about the tool itself. A qualitative descriptive study was chosen to better understand student and faculty's perceptions regarding the tool. Data was collected during three focus groups. Conclusions and recommendations: Students shared their experiences using the tool and talked at length about the importance Method SIMPLE's section "P" which explains in depth how to submit written papers. Participants recognized the benefits of having a web based tool. Results from the built-in evaluation surveys and descriptive analysis of the focus groups data also helped generate three types of recommendations: ways to enhance the tool itself, ways to enhance students' experience when using the tool and faculty's responsibility in helping students learn how to use the tool.
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Background: Writing across the curriculum (WAC) is a strategy in which writing instruction occurs in classes outside of composition, literature, and other English courses. This literature review was conducted to identify and synthesize the peer-reviewed literature about WAC in nursing education. Methods: The team performed searches of MEDLINE (PubMed), CINAHL Plus With Full Text, and ERIC for articles published between January 2003 and April 2014. A combination of Medical Subject Heading terms (or equivalent) and keywords were used to create the database search strategies. Results: There were 48 articles that discussed WAC. Most of the papers described writing courses in nursing programs, strategies to teach writing to nursing students, and writing activities or assignments within nursing courses. High-level evidence examining the impact of writing strategies and exercises in courses and occurring across the curriculum was lacking. Only 18 (37.5%) of these papers were evaluative; most of the databased articles were either author observations or perceptions of changes in students' writing ability, or low-level research studies. Conclusions: Strategies, assignments, and courses intended to promote writing skills of nursing students were documented in this literature review; however, further evaluation is needed to determine which are most effective.
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Faculty frustration with poor student writing ability and inconsistency among faculty on grading elements of assigned papers triggered the college administration to appoint a writing task force. The first goal was to develop a writing rubric. To measure the effectiveness of the rubric, faculty designed a research study but encountered failure early. Researchers could not achieve interrater reliability using the rubric and were unable to move forward. However, even a failed research study does not necessarily result in failure. Positive lessons were learned, a rubric contract was implemented, and our processes were innovated for improved faculty/student communication.
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Retention and the academic success of nursing students remains a high priority in Australian and global higher education. This study examines an embedded academic support strategy, provided by Professional Communication Academic Literacy (PCAL) support staff, and undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing student uptake of the support. It reports on the profile of those who sought support, and the relationships between student support, retention and academic performance. A total of 11 290 PCAL consultations were recorded during a 17-month period from January 2016, with these consultations initiated by 2827 individual students. Among the undergraduate nursing students (n = 4472), those who sought PCAL support were over 7 times more likely (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 7.81, 95% CI: 6.18 to 9.86) to continue in the nursing program, taking into consideration age and enrolment category of students. Among students who continued or are continuing in the program, those who did not seek PCAL support had a lower grade point average (GPA) (mean: 3.9) compared to those who sought PCAL support between 1 and 3 times (mean: 4.3), and those who sought PCAL support on more than 3 occasions had the highest GPA (mean: 4.4), suggesting that frequency of consultations influenced academic success and retention.
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This paper details how stand-alone instructional elements became the foundation for a new inquiry-based blended learning approach to information literacy on our campus. Based on the information search process research of Kuhlthau and designed to be inserted into blended learning classes, an information literacy workshop consisting of both online and face-to-face components was developed. Rather than simply train students on specific research tools, the premise for the workshop is to lay a broader foundation for students' inquiry based on discovery. A variety of assessment features (self-tests, quizzes, graded assignments) are employed throughout the syllabus. doi:10.1300/J111v45n03_08
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To investigate the academic writing experiences of a group of preregistration nursing students. To explore issues surrounding how academic writing skills were developed, integrated and received into the student's educational programme and how these skills impacted on various aspects of their educational and clinical experience. The development of an academic writing style is seen to be an integral skill that the student must be willing to learn and undertake within higher education settings. Academic styles of writing have been imported into nursing education as a consequence of its integration into higher education. I wanted to investigate the experiences of learning an academic style of writing for students early on in their nursing career. There is little, if any, research that seeks to investigate or measure these experiences of nursing students. A phenomenological approach to investigate the academic writing experiences of a group of preregistration students. There is an expectation that preregistration students will quickly acquire academic writing skills when most will have had little or no prior experience. There appeared to have been little emphasis placed on facilitating the development of these skills in the educational programme. The lack of emphasis and support proved to be problematical for these nursing students. The emergence of a theory-practice divide also figured strongly. Students were, however, able to appreciate the need and place for academic writing skills and most were able to identify the structural processes that were integral to acquiring such skills. A plethora of anecdotal evidence, supported by the findings in this study, suggests that most nursing students' struggle with the demands placed upon them when writing academic assignments. The need for greater emphasis and support throughout the whole period of training are highlighted in the findings of this study. It is known that nursing loses large numbers of its students to the academic rigors of its educational programmes. Where this is the case, the findings of this study support the need for nurse educationalists and curriculum planners to revise and reform the way that they approach and deliver the demands of an academic style of writing with their students.
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One way of helping faculty understand the integral role of writing in their various disciplines is to present disciplines as ways of doing, which links ways of knowing and writing in the disciplines. Ways of doing identified by faculty are used to describe broader generic and disciplinary structures, metagenres, and metadisciplines.
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Most commentators on writing instruction—both its history and its present practice—focus on American examples, at least in part because of a lack of information about how other countries organize writing instruction. This article seeks to redress this situation by providing information about how Canadian universities organize writing instruction. The article presents a short orientation to the development of universities in Canada before presenting the results of a national survey of all the universities in Canada who belong to the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada. The Results and Discussion section is divided into two parts based on the language of instruction in the universities being considered (English or French). The discussion seeks to answer three questions: How widespread is writing instruction? What do we know about the people who teach and research writing at universities? What is the range of instruction?
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Some similarities notwithstanding, the nature of the first-year English curriculum in Canada is significantly different than the typical composition requirement in American colleges and universities. The relevance of these curricular differences for a multidisciplinary audience interested in Canadian studies is both historical and future directed. The primary goal of this essay is not to argue for or against composition in Canadian universities and colleges, but to tell the history of the powerful impact of national cultures on an activity as apparently mundane as the teaching of first-year university English. The secondary goal is to speculate on the usefulness of first-year English as a barometer of change in the relationship between higher education and national cultures.
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The last decade has seen increasing attention given to the notion of genre and its application in language teaching and learning. Genre represents how writers typically use language to respond to recurring situations, pointing to the fact that texts are most successful when they employ conventions that other members of the community find familiar and convincing. This community-based nature of genres suggests that their features will differ across disciplines, encouraging teachers to research the features of the texts their students need in order to make these explicit in their classes. I examine some of the research understandings and practical applications of these views by looking at what the approach offers teachers of academic writing.
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Many RNs seeking their BSN degrees do not have well-developed nonclinical professional skills related to scholarship. To address this issue, faculty used the Community of Inquiry Framework to develop an elective, online course to help RN-BSN students explore professional growth through writing, presenting, and portfolio development. The authors discuss the course and its outcomes.
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Although academic writing in higher education has been the focus of research efforts for more than two decades, the specific writing experiences, needs and difficulties of undergraduate nursing and midwifery students have remained largely under-researched. This article reports on a project that investigated the nature and dynamics of academic writing in pre-registration nursing and midwifery at a UK university. The project collected data from a survey completed by 135 students and two focus groups. The article examines the specific genres on these two programmes, the difficulties participating students face when writing them, and their views as to how they can be best supported to do these tasks. It concludes with an analysis of the implications that these issues have for teaching discipline-specific genres in nursing and midwifery and offers some suggestions to respond to such implications.
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Written communication skills are critical for nursing practice. However, nursing faculty often find students unprepared to communicate clearly and effectively in writing. This integrative review identifies and discusses specific approaches used in baccalaureate programs to teach writing skills to prelicensure nursing students. Electronic databases PubMed, CINALHL, and ERIC were used. Nine articles were found describing programs that taught writing skills to prelicensure nursing students in baccalaureate programs. All articles were published since 1990 and met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Writing programs were divided into two categories: stand-alone programs and programs integrated across a nursing curriculum. Instructional strategies were analyzed to identify common elements. Five common elements of such programs were identified: short writing assignments, faculty training, sequential writing assignments, giving students examples of successful writing or explaining grading rubrics, and revision after faculty or peer feedback. Across-curriculum programs appeared to include these components more often than stand-alone programs. Writing programs implemented across a nursing curriculum may be more likely to include certain common components than are stand-alone programs. There is a critical need to measure both short- and long-term outcomes of these writing programs.
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Writing-to-learn (WTL) is a paradigm for coordinating the learning of content with the development of cognitive skills needed to contextualize knowledge. The authors describe the place of writing assignments in existing courses, give examples of how assignments were revised to satisfy the intent of WTL as an instructional strategy, and describe the resources and support needed to facilitate its implementation in the curriculum.
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Fiscal and financial constraints present a challenge for nurse educators to broaden the diversity and scope of teaching/learning methodologies. One method designed to promote autonomy and self-direction of nursing students is self-reflection combined with reflective journal writing. This paper describes a three-step process of self-reflection encompassing critical appraisal, peer group discussion and self-awareness. This process of self-reflection was initiated with one group of clinical nursing students. Using student and teacher feedback, implications for employing this teaching/learning strategy in clinical practice are suggested.
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Nurses need to communicate in oral and written formats, but the emphasis on concise charting and multiple-choice examinations hinders the development of scholarly writing skills. A questionnaire completed by 97 students identified the areas within writing and formatting that needed strengthening. Three strategies, useful to continuing education programs for nurses, were incorporated in a post-RN program to enhance the students' writing abilities: a writing skills workshop, an in-class writing exercise and a draft paper assignment. Student evaluations have supported these strategies as well as guidance by faculty in assisting students to improve their writing.
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Reflective practice is an ongoing process of purposeful thinking about one's clinical practice to develop understanding, insight, and clinical judgment. It can be enhanced through careful use of writing assignments that require reflection, evaluation, and thoughtful analysis. The uses of writing assignments in the undergraduate nursing programs at a midwestern college of nursing were studied over a 2-year period, using survey methodology. A purposive sample of all faculty who taught in baccalaureate or associate of science (ASN) programs (n=21) completed a questionnaire and were interviewed about the number and purpose of writing assignments in courses they taught. Quantification of the results in tabular form allowed the faculty to look at all writing assignments required of students across both programs with regard to the number, length, and nature of those assignments. Results were then recategorized by type of assignments, changes needed, and faculty assessment of the usefulness of these writing assignments. The summary of written assignments was then cross-referenced according to program, semester, and program level. This produced a working document that illustrated the quantity and type of writing assignments that each student, in each program, at a given level and semester must complete. Information was used by faculty teaching across courses to make changes that more effectively linked course writing assignments by association, themes, concepts, or areas of study. This process enables faculty to collaboratively develop writing assignments that facilitate the adult student's linking and associating concepts across courses, as a true exercise in critical thinking.
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This paper begins by exploring the principles underpinning 'reflective practice'. The impact of reflection on the nursing profession is discussed, with particular attention being paid to nursing education. The value of reflective practice in nursing has been subject to considerable debate. This paper reviews both the claimed strengths and shortcomings of 'reflection', particularly in relation to the use of reflective material in the assessment of students.
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To propose a universal model of nursing scholarship that (a) indicates the importance of professional practice disciplines, (b) incorporates the synthesis of intellectual pursuit with social change, and (c) is holistic in its design. Scholarship, traditionally viewed as part of or generated in the university enterprise, must be an expectation in all settings in which a community of scholars from both discipline and practice can and do coexist. Review and synthesis of the literature on scholarship, nursing scholarship, nursing as a practice discipline. The history, culture, and intellectual property of nursing comprise an appropriate basis for adopting a universal holistic model of scholarship built upon a set of universal assumptions about nursing scholarship. As a discipline and a profession, nursing should include four connected domains in a universal holistic model of scholarship: knowing, teaching, practice, and service. Confirmation of this universal holistic model of scholarship can contribute significantly to a larger nursing identity. Use of universal holistic model of nursing scholarship indicates responsibility of the nursing profession collectively and all nurses individually. Additional work is needed to understand how a universal holistic model of nursing scholarship evolves across cultures, domains, and work settings.
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Reflective writing is a valued tool for teaching nursing students and for documentation, support, and generation of nursing knowledge among experienced nurses. Expressive or reflective writing is becoming widely accepted in both professional and lay publications as a mechanism for coping with critical incidents. This article explores reflective writing as a tool for nursing education.
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To promote clinical scholarship, critical thinking, problem-solving ability, and effective writing and research skills in their students, faculty replaced their major care plan with a capstone scholarly paper. The authors discuss how faculty, who serve as mentors, guide their students through the development of the scholarly paper.
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In today's environment of rapidly changing health care and information technology, nurses require a broad range of skills. One of the key skills required of all health professionals in this environment is information literacy. For registered nurses returning to a university setting to study for their baccalaureate degree, becoming information literate is one of many challenges they face. Also key to students' ability to use and communicate information in an appropriate and effective manner is their writing skills. This article describes a curricular intervention designed to develop and strengthen post-registration nurses' information literacy and academic writing competencies. An introductory information management module was developed and provided to three successive cohorts of students (n=159). Students were predominantly female (85.4%) with a mean age of 34.2 years (SD=6.8). Prior to commencing the program, students reported low information literacy and writing skills, especially in accessing and searching electronic databases and using referencing formats. The post-test evaluation of skills showed substantial and statistically significant increases in all assessed competencies. This intervention demonstrated that with structured but flexible learning activities early in the curriculum, post-registration nursing students can quickly become information literate.
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Based on work conducted by Laurentian University's School of Nursing and Centre for Continuing Education in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, working in conjunction with community partners, this article looks at the findings of an analysis of nurses' writing activity in a university-level web-based module for evidence of critical thinking using Johns' Model of Structured Reflection (1995). Also considered are student-teacher interactions and discipline-specific writing. The findings suggest that high levels of critical thinking by nurse learners and growth in thinking and writing competence over time can occur in an online setting. Further highlighted are the role of the instructor, assignment design, and support in fostering such development.
Writing assignments in the faculty of nursing at the University of Alberta: A research report
  • R Graves
  • S Chaudoir
English 108: Introduction to language and literature
  • V Zenari