The pedagogical focus(es) of the case study and its/their rationale(s):
The Adult Nursing Practice 2 module is the first level 5 module of the second academic year.
The observee’s area of interest for cycle one focused on student engagement. Due to the number of students in the cohort, it was felt a classic lecture may limited student involvement within the session; potentially impacting students overall understanding of the information covered. As such, the observee deliberately introduced a variety of techniques into the session to promote engagement. The aim of employing such devices (case studies, video, and interactive quizzes) was to encourage students to become more invested in the theoretical content and allow them to better relate their learning to clinical practice. The observee wanted to identify if such approaches motivated the students in their learning, as the knowledge learnt would directly influence their nursing care for future patients.
The observee also considered the importance of the “safe learning environment” on student engagement. The aim being to foster a setting where students felt comfortable and confident enough to ask questions, challenge points, and explore their understanding of chronic wounds; despite being amongst approximately 100 of their peers.
Summary of the observation:
The case study focused on a Chronic Wound Management session. This session included content on the pathophysiology of chronic wounds, presentation, assessment and evidence based management of such wounds. The session was delivered in a lecture theatre to approximately 100 student nurses. The session was led by Lee Roberts, and was conducted on 27/10/2017 between 15:00-17:00hrs. This was the third and final lecture of the students’ day, and was conducted in a large lecture hall.
A quiz was used to open the lecture, providing students an opportunity to recap on previously taught wound content. Students were encouraged to work in teams if they preferred, and were rewarded with prizes for their contributions. This lasted for approximately 10 minutes, and appeared to elicit humour from the students. It was noted by Dion Smyth (observer) that students appeared comfortable to engage; acknowledging that students who have not previously spoken out in taught sessions were actively participating.
Videos on clinical assessment of the lower leg were included to support taught content. These were shown following relevant discussions to reinforce understanding. Questions were encouraged and answered to clarify learning points.
A case study approach was introduced when exploring malignant fungating wounds. Due to the complexities of this nursing care, the case study was adopted to encourage students to consider a more holistic assessment. Questions were asked to challenge thoughts on psychological and social influences for example. Student nurses were encouraged to consider their nursing assessment, treatment and management, and related this to the care of a patient from the case study. The evidence based to support nursing care decisions were then explored. The observer acknowledged that this approach humanised theoretical content.
Cycle 1 summary of our joint learning:
- Focus on the learning environment was evident following a review of cycle one. The students identified the temperature of the room being a barrier in their learning experiences. Students found the setting itself caused them to disengage from the taught content at times. Considerations were given to managing the learning environment, the use of comfort / temperature checks, and potential future actions for both students and lecturers. Limitations on managing the temperature of the lecture hall were recognised however.
- Distraction was another theme identified from this experience as students discussed how other learners may impede on their personal learning experience. Students were encouraged to consider how they might manage such distractions in future sessions.
- It was acknowledged that the teaching approaches adopted (such as quizzes) ensured students felt able to contribute and express their thoughts and opinions during discussions.
- Case studies were considered a beneficial learning tool, and allowed for clear links between theoretical knowledge and practical application.
- On review of the process, students appeared to largely focus the lecturers teaching style; providing feedback on how content was delivered by the observee. Whilst students were encouraged to consider their learning during the session, the focus on the teaching environment and teaching style was evident. The observee acknowledged that this resulted in their more passive role during the post-discussion experience, where feedback was given on their teaching performance much like an assessment. On reflection, the observee and observer recognised that greater emphasis needed to be incorporated at the pre-observation discussion on the expectations for students and observee during this process, and ensure greater focus on student learning when being exposed to the different teaching techniques used within the session.
- The use of peer observation was considered a positive experience during cycle one. The observee had opportunities to reflect on their learning with their observer, and objectives were set to aid continuous professional development such as introducing comfort checks for students, embedding media sources into presentations, and anonymised online quizzes to establish learners understanding and encourage greater participation.
Cycle 1 Implications on learning and teaching for staff members:
- To utilise varied teaching approaches within sessions to provide opportunities for student engagement, participation and overall understanding. To continue to introduce new teaching methods and receive feedback on their effectiveness. Students have highlighted the benefit of case study approaches to lecturers; something that could be further develop for cycle two.
- Be mindful of the learning environment, and the impact this can have on the students learning experience. Prioritise the construction of a safe learning environment to encourage student engagement.
- Utilise opportunities to reflect on teaching and learning with students as well as peers. The students were able to provide valuable perspective on classroom management that has been beneficial to the observee as a new lecturer.