Psychodynamic sources of resistance among student nurses: some observations in a human relations context
The nurse–patient relationship is considered to be a crucial part of the daily routine for many nurses; however, little evidence is available regarding how student nurses cope with learning human skills. Few researchers have considered how students engage with or resist the learning process. The aim of this study is to examine interpersonal matters and explore psychodynamic sources of resistance encountered among student nurses in an interpersonal skills context. A qualitative approach was adopted with a focus on individual case studies, using the in-depth interview as the major mode of data collection combined with observation. The four types of student that emerged from the data are emphasized, ranging from type 1 who were extremely reluctant to self-disclose, to type 4 who were more confident and free-flowing. The major characteristics pertaining to each type of student are outlined. While some characteristics seem to be related to childhood struggles and years of over-adaptation, others relate to factors that influence the learning climate. Particular attention is given to the psychological understanding of their predicament, including accounts of childhood and self-image. The implications for nurse education and limitations of this study are also considered.