Publication Details

Ashcroft, E. (2002). Can we teach problem solving in a clinical nursing laboratory?. TechTrain Conference 2002 (pp. 12-12). Sydney: University of Western Sydney, Paramatta Campus.


Can we teach problem solving in a clinical nursing laboratory? Elfi Ashcroft Technical Officer & Nursing Laboratory Manager University of Wollongong Abstract: The objectives of clinical nursing laboratories are the acquisition of psychomotor skills and the simulation of realistic clinical situations (Reilly and Oerman, 1992). A successful educational experience should also encourage the student to identify their development needs and initiate their own learning response (Neary, 2000). Laboratory classes are congested with factual information and demonstration (show and tell). Students, however, rarely have enough time to explore equipment and to acquire technical problem solving skills. The idea to develop a laboratory session that differed from the usual approach within the department emerged from the laboratory manager's concern for how little skill students initially acquired and ultimately retained when confronted with multiple, complex psychomotor skills and the use of technical equipment. Lecturers supported the development of a different teaching approach and the nursing laboratory manager designed a clinical laboratory session that prompted self directed learning and concentrated on problem solving and critical thinking processes within a simulated clinical scenario. The content was selected to actively encourage second year nursing students to combine psychomotor skills with cognitive skills to solve a given problem. Team working, time management and communication issues were incorporated to achieve a meaningful and challenging scenario. Keywords: clinical nursing laboratory, problem solving, critical thinking