Baccalaureate nursing studies: voyaging towards discovery

Authors

  • Melanie Birks RN MEd BN,

    Corresponding author
    1. PhD Candidate, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia
      Melanie Birks, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Gippland Campus, Northways Road, Churchill, Vic. 3842, Australia. Email: melanie.birks@med.monash.edu.au
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  • Ysanne Chapman RN PhD MSC(Hons) BEd(Nsg) GDE DNE DRM MRCNA,

    1. Senior Research Fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia
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  • Karen Francis RN PhD MHlthScNsg MEd BHlthScNsg DipHlthScNsg GradCertUniTeach/Learn

    1. Professor of Rural Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia
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Melanie Birks, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Gippland Campus, Northways Road, Churchill, Vic. 3842, Australia. Email: melanie.birks@med.monash.edu.au

Abstract

Postregistration nursing courses are designed to enable registered nurses to convert their existing certificate or diploma qualifications to degree level. This paper presents the findings of a preliminary exploratory, descriptive investigation into the experience of nurses undertaking postregistration degree studies in Malaysian Borneo. The unique nature of this environment presents challenges for these students and these are examined using the metaphor of a ship’s voyage. These experiences are explored within themes of setting sail, finding one’s sea legs, all in the same boat and discovering the treasure. The findings indicate that, for most of the participants, completion of a baccalaureate postregistration course was a long-held goal. A number of challenges were faced during the course, including managing time, the stress of conflicting priorities and the adjustment to tertiary studies. Support from fellow students, faculty and family was crucial to successfully completing this course. Personal and professional changes were reported by all participants. These include an increased level of confidence and assertiveness, the development of critical thinking ability, and enhanced communication skills. Ultimately, participants reported a renewed attitude towards themselves and their profession.

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