A comparison of three types of stimulus material in undergraduate mental health nursing education.

Publisher:
Churchill Livingstone
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Nurse Education Today, 2014, 34 (4), pp. 586 - 591
Issue Date:
2014-04
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The paper discusses an innovative educational approach that compared the use of different textual forms as stimulus materials in the teaching of an introductory mental health course.Practitioners in many disciplines, including nursing, appreciate the value of narratives in making sense of experiences, challenging assumptions and enhancing learning: they enable exploration of reality from different perspectives and create an emotional resonance. Narratives help nursing students to uncover embedded meanings, values and beliefs; they can include written texts, illustrated texts or picture books.180 students enrolled in an elective undergraduate nursing course.This project afforded students the choice of critically analysing (a) a chapter from one of two autobiographies, (b) an illustrated text, or (c) an illustration from a picture book. Each text was a narrative account from a personal or carer's perspective of the experience of mental illness. Their written submissions were then analysed by means of a qualitative descriptive approach.In analysis of the autobiographies students tended to paraphrase the authors' words and summarise their experiences. Those choosing the illustrated text were able to link the images and text, and provide a deeper and more insightful level of interpretation, albeit influenced by the author's personal account and expressed emotions; however, those analysing a picture book illustration demonstrated a surprising level of critical and creative thinking, and their interpretations were empathetic, insightful and thoughtful.The use of picture books, although not a common approach in nursing education, appears to engage students, challenge them to think more deeply, and stimulate their imagination.
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