The relationship between nursing students' perceptions of important teacher characteristics and teacher behaviors in the clinical setting

Susan Duckworth Hart

Abstract

Nursing is defined as a discipline that is in a social contract with individuals, families, and communities with care and concern for all types of problems. One of the most difficult challenges educators face today is how to educate students for dealing with all these problems. Nurse educators utilize both the classroom and the clinical setting to educate the student for nursing practice. However, the clinical setting provides opportunities for classroom theory application and offers many problems as well (Shah & Pennypacker, 1992). This study sought to discover the relationship between the criterion variable of nursing students' perceptions of important teacher characteristics and the independent variable of teacher behaviors in the clinical setting in selected associate degree nursing programs, and the students' selected demographic factors. The subject group consisted of 241 nursing students from four community colleges in Mississippi responding to questionnaires regarding demographic data, Clinical Instructor Characteristics Ranking Scale (CICRS), and facilitating and hindering teacher behaviors in the clinical setting. Four hypotheses were generated for this study using the variables of important teacher characteristics, facilitating and hindering teacher behaviors in the clinical setting, and demographic factors. Multiple linear regression was used to test all hypotheses. Specific techniques used consisted of multiple correlation, semipartial correlation, and the interaction effects. The.05 significance level was used as the rejection level of all tests of the hypotheses. Results of data analysis found that all the hypotheses were rejected except for the significant relationship found between important teacher characteristics and one of the hindering teacher behaviors of attitude. From the descriptive data, it was concluded that nursing students consider the most important characteristic of the teacher in the clinical setting as "demonstrating how to function in a real nursing situation." The nursing students identified the least important teacher characteristic in the clinical setting as "demonstrating knowledge of scientific principles relative to patient care." The teacher behavior in the clinical setting listed more often by the nursing students was in the category of facilitating attitude. Implications for nursing and educational administration and recommendations for further research were also discussed.