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Learning preferences of paediatric intensive care nurses


Jaquelina Hewitt-Taylor, Senior Lecturer, Distance Learning Centre, South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London SE1 OAA. E-mail:


Learning preferences of paediatric intensive care nurses

Aim. This paper reports the views of students on the teaching and learning strategies used in paediatric intensive care nursing courses.

Study methods. Qualitative methods of data collection and analysis were used. A case study of one paediatric intensive care nursing course was carried out, followed by group interviews with students from a further seven courses. Local ethics committee protocols were followed. Data were analysed using constant comparative analysis.

Study findings. Qualified nurses undertaking paediatric intensive care nursing courses seek a specific knowledge base, relevant to their clinical practice. Their preferred way of learning in this situation is teaching by knowledgeable experts who are also prepared to discuss issues that arise. Although in some instances student centred or self-directed approaches were considered acceptable, Students still require clear guidance and structure in their learning. Students did not summarily oppose student centred approaches to teaching and learning, however, time considerations and whether this would reduce the amount of study time provided by their employers were important factors. There was evidence that students do not necessarily have one specific learning preference.

Limitations. This study explored only paediatric intensive care nurse education, and was not intended to be generalizable beyond this field.

Conclusion. The findings from this study indicate that no single educational approach is universally seen as the most attractive for PICU nurses. The major considerations in designing and implementing PICU nursing courses should be that content is clearly rated to the clinical speciality, theory is clearly linked to practice, and that the time constraints for students who are additionally in full time employment are taken into account.