Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Following completion of a 4-year nursing program, some graduates have difficulty applying theories learned in the classroom to the clinical environment. This difficulty results in healthcare employers providing additional in-house training to ensure graduates' ability to safely care for their patients. The purpose of this research was to explore how traditional lecture methods have prepared students for the clinical environment. Based on a constructivist theoretical framework, a case study design was used to examine students' learning of theories delivered by traditional lecture methods. The research questions focused on student activities in the classroom and clinical setting, teaching strategies, critical thinking skills, and transfer of theory. Interview and observational data were collected from 10 randomly chosen students, their instructor, and 2 preceptors. Data were analyzed through a manual coding process, one that sought to identify emergent themes. Observational data revealed that nursing students were disengaged during the 3-hour lectures. Interview data revealed that students preferred that nursing skills be demonstrated prior to implementation. Both sources of data revealed that the 3-hour lectures should be divided into segments, that simulation and hands-on demonstration be incorporated in the curriculum, and that repetition should be allowed during instruction to accommodate different learning styles and increase students’ confidence. These findings have implications for positive social change by improving the transfer of theory from the classroom to the clinical setting through use of a newly developed 9-week participative curriculum project for nursing students in the childbearing class. Improved preparation of graduates will increase safe care of patients in the community.