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The purposes of this study were to: (a) determine nursing students' perceptions of the learning activities which contribute the most to their knowledge and skills; (b) determine students' perceptions of their learning difficulties; (c) compare the perception of English as a second language (ESL) and non-ESL students; (d) determine nursing faculty perceptions of ESL students' learning difficulties; (e) compare the perception of ESL students and faculty; and (f) indentify needs for educational and/or supportive programmes for faculty and students. Differences in perceptions of faculty and students regarding areas of difficulty and studetnts' needs may influence the services provided to students and therefore contribute to their lack of success and attrition.

A questionnaire was given to students in the first and second years of the University of British Columbia (UBC)/Vancouver Hospital (VH) Nursing Programme to collect data regarding their high school and post-secondary education, date of arrival in Canada, first language, and their perceptions of helpfulness and difficulty of learning activities. A similar questionnaire was given to faculty members working with these students to collect data about their perceptions of areas of difficulty and activities that contribute the most to the learning of ESL students. Data analysis consisted of t-test for statistical comparison of the responses of ESL and non-ESL students, and ESL students and faculty. The results indicated statistically significant differences between the perceptions of faculty and ESL students, particularly in the areas of difficulty. The need for educational programmes for both faculty and students was identified.