Thursday, 25 September 2014

Shall we speak, or...?

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

The first computer in the hospital where I was a Charge Nurse was the one I took in with me on night duty. I unloaded my excellent (in my view unsurpassed as a dedicated word-processing tool) Amstrad PCW from the car and set it up at the nurses' station where, between my nursing duties, I would write manuscripts and I even developed a program using the programming language Mallard for PCW which calculated cost-effectiveness data in the clinical trial I was running. Well, those were the days! My computer was not linked up to anything or anyone and I was viewed as some kind of technological wizard, mainly eccentric, who was engaged in something that would probably 'never catch on'.

Fast forward approximately 25 years and every clinical area and office in my GP surgery, the local hospitals and anywhere healthcare is delivered is festooned with electronic equipment. A Finnish study entitled The use of electronic devices for communication with colleagues and other health professionals - nursing professionals' perspectives by Koivunen et al. (2014) and published in JAN looks at how nurses experience the use of electronic devices for professional communication. The study involved 123 Finnish nurses and found that a variety of electronic means of communication was used with email being the most popular. Synchronous communication - Skype, FaceTime - was used very little. While the nurses found the use of electronic devices useful and efficient, concerns remained about security of information. However, some were concerned about the lack of social interaction and, I guess, it will be a sad day if electronic communication replaces such interaction in a profession which aims to be person-centred and caring.


How dementia affects carers

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

The adverse consequences for informal caregivers of people with dementia are well known: physical exhaustion, depression, burnout, and financial hardship. A pan-European study entitled The association between positive-negative reactions of informal caregivers of people with dementia and health outcomes in eight European countries: a cross-sectional study by Alvira et al. (2014) and published in JAN, considers the effect of caring for someone with dementia on informal carers. This is the second appearance in our blog of a study from the RightTimeRightPlace Consortium.

A questionnaire called the Caregiver Reaction Assessment was used in Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK involving 2014 people with dementia and their informal caregivers. The questionnaire measures a range of variables related to caring for someone with dementia. While differences in demographics and care environments differed across Europe there was an essential message from the study, as expressed by the authors: Health problems were clearly associated with caregiver burden, psychological well-being and quality of life.


Alvira MC, Risco E, Caberera E, Farre M, Hallberg IR, Bleijlevens MHC, Meyer G, Koskenniemi J, Soto M, Zabalegui A, on behalf of the RightTimeRightPlace Consortium (2014) The association between positive-negative reactions of informal caregivers of people with dementia and health outcomes in eight European countries: a cross-sectional study Journal of Advanced Nursing doi:10.1111/jan.12528

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Measuring learning outcomes in healthcare students

Annamaria Bagnasco, MSc PhD, Researcher in Nursing & Education Coordinator1
Lucia Cadorin, MSc PhD, Student in Methodology of Nursing Research2
Angela Tolotti, MSc PhD, Student in Methodology of Nursing Research2
Nicola Pagnucci, MSc PhD, Student in Methodology of Nursing Research2
Gennaro Rocco, MSc, President3
Loredana Sasso, MSc, Associate Professor of Nursing2

1Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Genoa, Italy
2Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Italy
3IPASVI Centre of Excellence, Rome, Italy

A group of Italian researchers has recently published in JAN a paper titled: ‘Instruments measuring meaningful learning in undergraduate healthcare students: a systematic review protocol’. The aim of this systematic review protocol by Bagnasco et al. (2014) was to establish the psychometric properties of instruments to measure learning outcomes in healthcare students.

Learning outcomes in healthcare students is an important issue that has been debated on an international level due to the difficulty of measuring learning, specifically meaningful learning.

Meaningful learning is an active process that promotes a wider and deeper understanding of concepts. It is the result of an interaction between new and previous knowledge, it produces a long-term change, and it is exclusively built by the learner.

This systematic review offers a synthesis of the data related to instruments that measure learning outcomes and will help to decide which tools to use, as well as design a model to assess meaningful learning in its three dimensions:

a.) ‘cognitive and metacognitive processes’,
b.) ‘behavioural and emotional aspects of learning’ and
c.) ‘attitude towards learning’.

The successful implementation of meaningful learning in nursing students also requires educators to have specific skills and competences. Measuring learning outcomes is very important because it makes students feel responsible for their own learning and helps them understand the process of interaction between the new information they gain and what they already know, making an innovative contribution to this field.


Bagnasco A, Cadorin L, Tolotti A, Pagnucci N, Rocco G, Sasso L (2014) Instruments measuring meaningful learning in undergraduate healthcare students: a systematic review protocolJournal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12520