Friendships and the community of students: peer learning amongst a group of pre-registration student nurses
Roberts, D 2007, Friendships and the community of students: peer learning amongst a group of pre-registration student nurses , PhD thesis, University of Salford, UK.
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This research seeks to explore the nature and value of peer learning for a group of pre-registration nursing students and specifically aims to examine a group of student nurses in order to inquire whether they learn from each other and if so, how, when and where this takes place. Secondly, the work aims to discover more about the process used by those nurses while engaging in peer learning and to unearth their perceptions of and value systems ascribed to this type of learning. In this context the students engage in peer learning as they learn from and through each others’ experience. This research is set against the backdrop of recent changes within nurse education in the United Kingdom. In 1999, the Peach report made several main recommendations regarding the future of pre-registration nurse education, including the integration of knowledge and skills through balanced time in theory and practice together with the fostering of interpersonal and practice skills through experiential and problem-based learning (UKCC 1999). In this case the fellow learners are a group of pre registration student nurses enrolled on a programme leading to registration as Adult Branch nurses with a Diploma level academic qualification. The curriculum (based on the Fitness for Practice recommendations within the Peach report) convenes the group (known as a base group) together throughout the course at regular intervals, and utilizes a strategy of problem based learning as part of a range of teaching and learning strategies in order to help the students to acquire the knowledge required by a qualified nurse. It is important to differentiate peer learning from other mechanisms which involve students in learning from each other. For example, peer teaching or peer tutoring is a far more formal and instrumental strategy whereby advanced students or those further on in progression, take on a limited instructional role (Boud, Cohen and Sampson 2001). In other words, the more senior students are used to formally teach various aspects of the curriculum to more junior students.
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