Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Flynn, Joseph E.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


Lack of undergraduate registered nurse (RN) student preparedness has placed nursing education under the microscope. Two primary concerns regarding nursing education include delivery and the learning environment. National nursing organizations recommend development of strategies that enhance the undergraduate RN student’s ability to transition to practice upon program completion. Even though there is no miraculous teaching strategy that must be used by all educators, nurse educators should implement learner-centered strategies because these meet the diverse needs of the learner, promote social interaction, and enhance learning. Given that nursing is delivered in a clinical context, and the clinical experience is critical for the undergraduate RN student, this study focuses on educational delivery in the clinical learning environment. Exploring clinical facilitation in undergraduate RN student education can provide useful data about educational delivery, which will make it easier for further study and explanation.

To further understand the strategies employed by nurse educators who are facilitating learning in the clinical environment, a mixed-methods study was conducted which explored the strategies employed by nurse educators to prepare the undergraduate RN student for future practice. The Principal Investigator (PI) surveyed 71 nurse educators using an electronic survey based on the modified Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS). In addition, nurse educators were asked open-ended questions post-survey and five individual interviews were conducted to explore the strategies utilized in the clinical environment when preparing the undergraduate RN student for practice.

Two different methods were utilized to analyze the data. The researcher utilized Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 25.0 to analyze the quantitative data. Conventional qualitative content analysis was selected as the method of data analysis for the qualitative piece, as this approach leads to concept development or model building. The quantitative findings from this study indicate that the nurse educators teaching in the clinical environment display a propensity toward the learner-centered teaching style and implement learner-centered behaviors. The analysis of qualitative data indicates that nurse educators are innovative and purposeful in their teaching. Merging of data resulted in congruence among the quantitative and qualitative data and key themes were noted from the data sets.

Key themes emerged from this study which allowed the PI to develop a conceptual model illustrating the various strategies utilized by nurse educators to prepare the undergraduate RN student upon program completion and for future practice. The conceptual model is called the Innovative Clinical Facilitation Model.. The themes include exhibiting learner-centered practices, supporting diverse needs, implementing active learning strategies, and enhancing collaboration. These findings were attained based on the research questions and were noted to direct the teaching and learning process, enhance communication, motivate the learner, develop critical thinking while linking theory to practice, and set the tone while influencing culture in the environment. The Innovative Clinical Facilitation Model can be used to help others understand the components of facilitation of learning in the clinical environment of nursing education. The model may also be used as a foundation on which to base future research. Recommendations were made for nursing education, research, and practice.

Keywords: nursing education, clinical education, clinical teaching, learning environment, nurse educator, teaching strategies


215 pages




Northern Illinois University

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