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Keywords:

  • clinical supervision;
  • connection;
  • nurse education;
  • nursing;
  • student evaluation;
  • student–teacher relationships

Aim.  This paper expands the understanding of student–teacher connection and offers direction for educators in supporting connection as a place of possibility.

Background.  The evolution of a humanistic paradigm in nursing education is evident in research exploring student–teacher relationships. Connection is described within humanistic student–teacher relationships, reported as part of experiences of students, educators and clinicians within emancipatory curricula, and emerged as a central metaphor in a metasynthesis of caring in nursing education. Additionally, student–teacher connection in clinical nursing education has been reported as creating positive outcomes for students’ learning experiences and professional socialization.

Discussion.  In this paper, student–teacher connection is envisioned as having a value beyond these tangible outcomes – a value that arises from the essence of connection itself. The qualities inherent in the essence of connection – knowing, trust, respect and mutuality – create a transformative space in which students are affirmed, gain insight into their potential, and grow toward fulfilling personal and professional capacities: student–teacher connection emerges as a place of possibility. The possibilities that exist for students and teachers in a connected relationship are exemplified as connection is proposed as a cornerstone in supporting students at risk of failing a clinical nursing course.

Conclusion.  Acknowledging student–teacher connection as a place of possibility highlights the importance of student–teacher relationship to students’ learning and raises implications for preparation and evaluation of educators, and educational practice within the international nursing arena. Of note is the need for the preparation of educators to include a focus of developing relational competence as well as evaluation processes that consider the teacher-in-relationship. Regardless of the educational setting, educators are challenged to consider their beliefs and actions and the influence these exert on relationships with students. Further research exploring specific possibilities within connection is required.