• caring;
  • transformative caring-healing model;
  • nursing;
  • practice;
  • education;
  • holism;
  • spirituality;
  • spiritual awareness;
  • focus groups;
  • guided reflection

The personal and professional impact of undertaking an educational module on human caring

Aim of the study. To evaluate the personal and professional impact of undertaking a 15-week degree level module on nursing as human caring.

Background. Little is known about how to teach and enhance caring practices. An innovative module was implemented on a 4-year, postregistration nursing degree course in Wales to develop students’ capacity to be caring practitioners. An understanding of its impact was sought to facilitate better future preparation of students.

Research methods. A full cohort of 25 part-time students, divided into four groups, participated in audio-taped focus groups before and after undertaking the module.

Findings. From a personal perspective, the students experienced increased spiritual awareness characterized by: (1) enhanced connecting relationships with self and others, (2) finding purpose and meaning in life, and (3) clarification of values. Professionally, the module resulted in: (1) an increased knowledge and understanding of caring theory and related concepts, (2) a more holistic approach to care, and (3) enhanced caring practice.

Conclusions. Education may enhance students’ capacity to be caring practitioners. Spirituality, in particular, was illuminated for the students as an important means of developing both themselves and their caring practices. They experienced transformative learning, and the focus groups, employed as the research method, served as a useful vehicle in this process. Reflective groups will be used as a teaching method on future modules.