The development of self-confidence in undergraduate nursing students in Ireland

Chesser-Smyth, PA 2012, The development of self-confidence in undergraduate nursing students in Ireland , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 July 2022.

Download (35MB) | Request a copy


Aim The aim of this research study was to establish the effects of classroom learning and clinical practice on the development of self-confidence amongst undergraduate nursing students in Ireland. Background Self-confidence underpins nurses' competence to carry out care effectively and is an important aspect of learning to be a nurse. Yet, there is little empirical evidence that demonstrates its full utility in nursing, and, to date, no evidence addressed how selfconfidence develops from the students' perspectives or the impact of clinical practice on students' self-confidence. Method This study examined the extent to which theoretical preparation and clinical practice influenced self-confidence among first-year undergraduate nursing students in Ireland. This was achieved through a sequential, mixed methods, three-phase design that involved pretest and post-test measurements of self-confidence, a student self-evaluation questionnaire (SSEQ), focus group interviews and an analysis of the relevant curriculum content. The study was underpinned by Bandura's Social Learning theoretical model. The sample was taken from three cohorts of students at three institutes of technology in Ireland. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and qualitative content analysis. Results A two-stage model was developed that identified how self-confidence was influenced in the clinical and non-clinical environments. Factors in clinical practice exerted the most influence. Self-confidence was promoted particularly through positive preceptorship experiences, peer influence and successful mastery experiences of clinical practice. It was instilled through a sense of trust, recognition of performance, constructive feedback, and being made to feel part of the team. Self-confidence fluctuated during the first clinical placement, and, as nursing students' self-confidence developed, motivation towards academic achievement increased simultaneously. There was considerable variation in the amount and nature of theoretical preparation. The linking of theory to practice was realised only on return to the classroom in the first year. Conversely, self-confidence was quickly eroded by poor preceptor attitudes, lack of communication, and feeling undervalued. The threat of the formal assessment remained powerfully dominant over creativity and the development of critical thinking which consequently hindered the development of self-confidence. Conclusion This study offers a new understanding of facilitators and barriers to the promotion of selfconfidence amongst nursing students that has international relevance for undergraduate education. The development of self-confidence needs to be targeted from the commencement of the first year as opposed to nursing students feeling unprepared and lacking self-confidence at the point of qualification. The development of an identified learning outcome in the design and delivery of undergraduate nursing programmes is recommended to demonstrate the importance of this attribute. Secondly, this is required to combat the current assumption that self-confidence occurs spontaneously during the undergraduate nursing programme. A set of recommendations have been developed to aid the enhancement of self-confidence in the educational preparation of nursing students for the complexities of nursing in the 21st century.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Long, T (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2021 13:40
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:56

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year