International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleThe perceived learning experiences of undergraduate nursing students during a one-semester course on person-centred care
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sRené van Leeuwen and Jan S. Jukema
ReferenceVolume 8, Issue 1, Article 5
Date of PublicationMay 2018
Keywordsperson-centred care, pre-registration nursing education, professional development


Background: One approach to nursing is to value person-centred care as the preferred way of caring. Undergraduate nursing education may include specific courses that facilitate the development of person-centred care in students but it is not known which learning experiences students report as influential in this respect or which components of the courses contribute.

Aim: The aims of this empirical study is to describe the perceived learning experiences gained during a one-semester course and their impact on the development of person-centred care in undergraduate nursing students, and to gain insight into which course components contributed to this development.

Setting: The context of this study was a one-semester elective course for undergraduate nursing students, encompassing classroom and clinical teaching. The participants were 14 undergraduate nursing students, who enrolled in the course during the third year of their four‑year programme.

Methods: Portfolios including 70 reflective reports were collected. These reports were made available for the purpose of this study. Data were qualitatively analysed by means of content analysis.

Findings: This study provides insight into the students’ learning experiences during the development of their person-centred care, with respect to four themes: awareness; understanding; applicability of person-centred care models; and the educational components that may be influential.

Conclusions: These findings support the theory that focused educational approaches can be used to meaningfully enhance the development of person-centred care in undergraduate nursing students. It remains unclear, however, to what extent these students are able to apply person-centred care in practice. This means further work needs to be done to develop courses with a high and predictable impact on undergraduate students’ development in person-centred care.

Implications for practice:

  • Clinical teaching, including feedback from a skilled supervisor, may contribute to nursing students’ ability to apply person-centred care in practice
  • Undergraduate nursing courses aimed at supporting professional development in areas involving person-centred care should include a mixture of pedagogical strategies
  • The education of undergraduate nurses in person-centred care seems to require a profound knowledge and insight among lecturers and clinical supervisors of this approach of nursing care

This article by René van Leeuwen and Jan S. Jukema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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