Students were selected to participate in a research project funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to develop experimental innovations in learning and teaching for either undergraduate or postgraduate taught provision. The research was an insight into education comprehension by learners and the methodology used by lecturers to edify students on that level of education.
Our team of researcher included; Jay (me), Oliver (peer), Vanessa (research leader). Me and my colleague Oliver had to liaise and acquiesce with two selected lecturers Dion Smyth (senior lecturer) and Lee Roberts (new lecturer), agreeing on the observations and which lecturers we can observe. We also highlighted issues that would influence our learning and recorded our meetings on a dictator for reflection purposes.
As well as being a student and preparing ourselves for an upcoming exam on Nursing Practice 2 and our placement we had to selectively decide on criteria to base our observations on and have a pre and post meeting to address any concerns.
The sessions which were to be observed were; Chronic wounds and Disability, which were delivered by Lee Roberts. Disability was a lecture which me and my colleague had previously attended and were familiar with the presentation but the chronic wounds session was going to be our first attendance.
Prior to the first observation on chronic wounds I decided what I would like to observe and listed the sub headings in order to populate with my findings. I tactically positioned myself to the back of the class to get a clear view of student interaction as well as lecturer presentation. The session was a follow up from a previous chronic wound session already delivered to the taught students. There was a lot of long term memory stimulating activities which were rewarded on the basis of a correct answer interaction. I found that incentive pretty encouraging as well as fun. The session continued with heavy physiology and large revision content.
The second session which was on disability was a session that had a lot of interruption. There were many influencing factors such as; the last session of the day, the encouragement to liaise with fellow students to acquire information which increased the noise levels beyond adequate. The educational aura had seemed to be disconcerted with the level of disruption to the point where I found myself looking around towards students responsible for the session debacle.
The first session I enjoyed due to the engagement of the eager students to acquire knowledge leading up to the anticipated exam. I found myself content with the session structure and impressed with the style it was delivered. The method of recalling information by asking questions and especially rewarding students for the interaction with goodies was exceptional. The only downfall to this lecture was the room temperature which was uncomfortably warm, and the fact that the break was delayed as well as me sitting in the middle of the row. I would have had to ask a lot of students to get up and let me pass in order to get up and leave the session to get fresh air and cool down. Since I did not want to disrupt their learning I decided to wait till the break, which was delayed.
I was thinking of what I need to cover after the session and which sources I could utilise i.e. library, Moodle and add more to my notes. This is the type of lectures that gets me thinking, makes me want to search for new sources to emphasise on the information I noted during the session.
The second lecture, which was a session I have previously attended, was not a positive one on my preference list of classes. I could not focus neither could I hear Lee, I found Lee’s continuous prompting of the students to quiet down a little disrespecting towards Lee. As I couldn’t concentrate I left the session to document and record my findings in the library.
The timing of these sessions was critical due to the exam one month away and the coverage to be extensive. I have previously failed an exam and an assignment which was more the reason why I wanted to pay close attention. In my usual classes I situate myself in the front rows, just so that I do not miss anything. I cannot fail and to address that concern I re-write information in order to memorise it. I utilise many methods so that I can recall information.
The content I found heavy on certain factors such as physiology, where the process was listed and we were prompted to remember for the exam. The other type of information which we were given such as the disability lecture where we were told not to memorise the actual current statistics for disabled people or the percentage of the types of diseases due to the exam not having to question the students on specific topics yet we were questioned and told to seek the answers in the actual lecture.
There was a lot of confusion with students on the content of the exam due to the coverage being; multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer and acute abdomen, which then had cells, mitosis, bloods and blood transfusion. Every word in this content opened a new route of knowledge and it is quite easy to drift into irrelevant territory.
I personally experienced this on my last exam and this is one of my main weaknesses that when I sit to revise, I would search external material on a topic such as cancer and come across ‘proto-oncogene’ I would then drift into a totally different category on mutations and genetics, DNA etc. by the time I look back and realise I just wasted an hour.
Sessions should be delivered addressing the actual requirements from the student. I disagree with the onerous of the student to acquire useful material. Adult nursing is about delivering holistic healthcare; mistakes can cause deaths, i.e. giving the wrong medication, not understanding the implications of contraindications, the severity of allergic reactions.
The overall perception on Bachelors in Nursing is currently stigmatised by the difficulty faced by newly qualified nurses, I have even heard nurses stating that they would never undertake another nursing course again. When this is mentioned to lecturers they jump to the ‘we don’t spoon feed’.
Through my participation I gained an insight into my learning style and yet still feel that no matter how hard I try to learn and how much effort I apply there will always be a hidden agenda in the examinations and the content delivered. I would like to see transparency and fairness for future students which can only be attained if a major reform takes place within universities leadership.
Many would disagree with my views, at the age of 41 I have had my fair share of life experiences to identify that it is a financially driven society. If a questionnaire was prepared asking all qualified nurses when have they utilised the knowledge and education on mitosis or the axon, etc. I wonder how many would say they do.