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Research Question, Method, and Rationale

Teri Tench

ED 8112

Educational Research Methods.

18110 The Glebe Lane

Charles City, Va. 23030

Telephone: (757) 810-5497


Instructor: Dr. Alred


Research Question, Method, and Rationale


The topic to be utilized for this research study is resiliency in student nurses. Lack of

resiliency has been identified as a factor that results in newly graduate nurses leaving the

profession at alarming rates. Nurse educators are charged to prepare graduates for practice.

Methods to enhance and nurture resiliency must be included in academia (Reyes et al., 2015b).

Researchers suggest that educators that build effective relationships and create a positive

learning climate can enhance resiliency in the student nurse. Billings & Halstead (2016)

suggests that learning contracts can promote a climate of trust and mutual respect that will

influence resiliency. Classroom contracts are utilizing at a small, private Catholic nursing

program in central Virginia to facilitate interpersonal relationships and promote an environment

conducive for learning and role development. The classroom contracts may be a strategy to

enhance student-nurse educator relationship resulting in enhanced resilience in student nurses.

Research Problem

The nursing shortage is a significant problem in the United States. One aspect of the

nursing shortage that is concerning for the nurse educator is the percentage of newly graduated

nurses leaving the profession. Approximately 12-20% of new graduate nurse leave the acute

care setting after the first year. Exit polls indicate the reason for RNs high turnover rate is

inadequate staffing, inadequate support of staff, overwhelming workload, poor wages, and the

stress that accompanies caring for severely ill patients with multiple health issue. Verbal abuse

and workplace violence contribute to job dissatisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and

unsurmountable stress within the profession of nursing. The lack of resilience has been

identified as a reason why newly graduated nurses are leaving the profession of nursing at

alarming rates(Mealer,2017).

Lack of resiliency in student nurses has been a topic of research for several years. Reyes

et al., (2015a) identified a gap in research related to methods to enhance resiliency in student

nurses. Foreman, du Plessis, & Koen (2016) suggested a research gap in regards to private

nursing schools investigating the influence educatorstudent relationship has on the resiliency of

nursing students. Their research suggested that an effective educatorstudent relationship is a

key factor to ensure a positive learning climate where learning can take place and resilience can

be strengthened.

Methods to enhance the student-nurse relation is an area that needs further researched.

Strategies to enhance the relationship need to be studied. Nurse educators would benefit from

research studies that focuses on evidence based practices to support student nurses transition into

practice (Fain, 2017).

Research Question

Does the implementation of a classroom contract in first-year baccalaureate nursing

students, enrolled at a small, private Catholic college in central Virginia, promote an atmosphere

conducive for the promotion and enhancement of the student-nurse educator relationship

resulting in increased student resiliency?

Literature Review

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Interprofessional

Education Collaborative (IPEC) has charged nurse educators to prepare graduate nurses to

practice in the complex, everchanging arena of healthcare. Research suggests that graduate

nurses are entering the profession ill-prepared for practice. Newly graduate nurses need personal

resilience and psychological empowerment skills to be prepared to respond to workplace

adversity (Pines et al., 2014).

Nurses educators are challenged to build a science of nursing education. The National

League for Nurses(NLN) has challenged nurse educators to increase the number and type of

educational research studies related to the practice of teaching nursing. Empirical research

studies conducted by nurse educators are essential in building the body of evidence needed to

enhance the practice of nursing education (Patterson & Kline, 2012).

Nursing educators must provide students with the essential skills to be successful post-

graduation. Research suggests that enhanced levels of resiliency contributes to student nurses

being better equipped to cope with stressors and adversities successfully. However, relatively

little is known about what strategies promote resiliency in the nursing student population (Reyes

et al., (2015b).

Human beings present with varying degrees of resilience. Personality traits promote

resilience. Resilience can also be learned through cognitive and behavioral interventions.

Characteristics of resilience that can be learned include positive coping skills, engaging the

support of others, optimism, humor, and cognitive restructuring (Mealer, 2017).

Banduras social cognitive theory suggests that behavior is a function of the interaction of

the environment. Humans cognitive function can be influenced by casual contributions resulting

in alteration to motivation, affect, and action (Merriam et al., 2006). The student- nurse educator

relationship may influence resiliency in the student nurse. Methods to enhance this relationship

need to be identified. Classroom contract may be a strategy to enhance the student- nurse

relationship and enhance empowerment and resiliency (Billings & Halstead, 2016).

Reyes et al., (2015a) conducted a constructivist, grounded theory qualitative design study

aimed at ways to explore nursing students understanding and enactment of resilience in nursing

students enrolled in a four-year, integrated baccalaureate nursing degree program at a university

in Ontario, Canada. The study identified a pushing through grounded theory that may be

beneficial to structuring future research.

The grounded theory of pushing through represents nursing students understanding and

enactment of resilience. Effective educatorstudent relationship is a key factor to ensure a

positive learning climate where learning can take place and resilience can be strengthened.

Methods to enhance the student-nurse educator relationship is critical to enhancing resiliency in

nursing education (Reyes et at., 2015a).

This grounded theory adds evidence to the current state of knowledge about resilience.

However, the researchers warn that the grounding theory is to be utilized as an interpretive frame

measure rather than deterministic explanations from which to view resilience. Additionally, a

limited amount of research is available in nursing education research that explains nursing

students perceptions of resilience and how resilience is enacted in their academic lives (Reyes et

at., 2015a).

Pines et al., (2014) implemented a quasi-experimental pre-post design research study

conducted at a small, private faith based baccalaureate nursing program. The study integrated

two semesters of simulations and didactic educational training to educate upper level students

about methods to enhance empowerment, stress resiliency and communication techniques. The

results of the pre- and post- test suggests little change during the two semesters of educational

training. The researchers recommend that students may benefit for environmental support and

role modeling by faculty to support the student in practicing skills amid at empowerment,

resiliency, and effective communication.

Beauvais et al., (2014) study was conducted at a private Catholic university. descriptive

correlational design was to describe the relationship between emotional intelligence,

psychological empowerment, resilience, spiritual well-being, and academic success in

undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

The research results suggest that elevated level of resiliency was a strong predictor for

academic success in graduate nursing students. Nurse educator support and role modeling was

identified as strategies to enhance resiliency in student nurses. Providing students with a positive

environment is important to consider when researching resiliency in nursing students (Beauvais

et al., 2014).

Foreman et al., (2016) conducted a study at a private nursing education institution in the

North-West Province of South Africa to explore and describe nursing students' view about the

basic elements required in an effective educator-student relationship to strengthen their resilience

and the educator-student relationship. The research results suggest that a caring and supportive

environment, where learning can take place, is important to the student nurses enhancement of


Foreman et al., (2016) applied a World Caf style data collection method included face-

to-face interviewing of student nurses on five research questions. The five questions included

the following:

1.What is needed in the teachinglearning environment to improve the

relationship with your educator?

2.What type of interaction will improve your relationship with your educator?

3.What qualities must your educator display to improve the relationship between

the educator and student?

4.How do you manage to stay resilient?

5.What suggestions can be implemented in the educator student relationship to

strengthen your resilience as students? (Foreman et al., 2016. p.4).

Foreman et al., (2016) research suggested five themes that are important to nursing

research. The teachinglearning environment may have an influence on the student-nurse

educator relationship. Classroom contracts are designed to promote an environment that is

conducive to learning and role development.

The importance of educatorstudent interactions was also identified as a strategy to

promote resiliency in the student nurse. Nurse educators must mindful of the importance of

every interaction between students and themselves. Resiliency may be enhanced or compromised

based on the outcome of the interaction (Foreman et al., 2016).

The interpersonal qualities of the nurse educator are also important component in how

resiliency is influenced by the student-nurse educator relationship. Nurse educators who present

with a caring, supportive presence maybe viewed by the student nurse to be invested in the

students success, enhancing resilience (Foreman et al., 2016).

Student nurses report that persistency in resilience is influenced by positive relationships.

Nurse educators must remember the importance their presence has on the student nurse effort to

remain resilience (Foreman et al., 2016). Classroom contracts may support the nurse educator in

remembering the importance of their relationship with students and the impact it has on the

students success.

Waddell et al., (2015) suggests that career resilience is strengthened by the student-nurse

educator relationship. Career resilience has been identified as the attribute that may enable nurses

to respond to and influence their work environment with the potential outcome of increased job

satisfaction and commitment to the profession. The research suggests that the students career

resilience is enhanced when the nurse educator takes on the role of professional coach.

Nurse educators can enhance career resilience in the student nurse by enhancing the

student-nurse educator relationship. Educators who are mindful of the impact the coaching role

has on the students development of career resilience. A limitation to the study was identified as

the faculty members dedication to the training that accompanies the coachs role (Waddell et al.,


Nurse educators can mentor student nurses to enhance resilience. The mentor is a guide,

cheerleader, and challenger, supporting the learning process. The teacher challenges adult

learners to examine themselves, and their relationships to the world. Adult educators must

connect with students. The story about the students journey is instrumental in the learning

process. The teacher can use the students story to challenge the student, support the student,

and provide a vision. The storytelling promotes a journey for the student and supports a holistic

and transformational worldview (Merriam et al., 2006).

Shinde & Hiremath (2014) conducted a qualitative research study to assess nursing

students perceived level of stress, stressor among nursing students, and the coping strategies they

applied to overcome these stresses. The research results suggest that a strained relationship

between the student and the nurse educator increases stress. Increased stress can negatively

impacted nursing students academic and professional development.


Shinde & Hiremath (2014) research suggested that student nurses identified that

examinations, clinical work, and finding the academic work difficult were the most causative

source of stress in nursing education. Tests, clinical work, and academic work are an essential

components of nursing education. Nurse educators who are mindful of the stress that is generate

from these aspect of students life, can support them in the process. Classroom contracts can

address the impact these stressors have on students and methods to decrease stress.

DeRosier, Frank, Schwartz & Leary (2013) conducted a correlation study to describe the

specific stressors of first-year college students and examine the impact the utilization of

resiliency tactics that supports their emotional and mental well-being. Students who can cope

with stressors during the first year of college have important implications not only for their

social-emotional adjustment, but also for the likelihood of their academic success and profession.

DeRosier et al., (2013) results suggest that providing students the opportunity to develop

social connections is critical in the enhancement of resiliency in the students. Stress is highly

prevalent among college freshmen, and students often engage in maladaptive behaviors in

response to stress. As expected, students with greater resilience appeared to be better able to

cope with the stressors associated with the transition to college (De Rosier et al., 2013, p. 452.).

Maladaptive responses to stress may impact resiliency in students. Strategies to promote

adaptive responses to stress must be promoted by educators. By elucidating the factors that

promote resilience and positive adaptation to college, the findings from this examination have

direct implications for the development of programs to promote psychological adjustment and,

ultimately, academic success, and retention (DeRosier et al., 2013, p.539).

The complexity of the healthcare setting can leave the newly graduate nurse feeling

overwhelmed. Condon (2014) suggests that little research has been implemented in nursing

education regarding the influence of being overwhelmed has on the newly graduate nurses.

Parses theory of humanbecoming may support nurse educators in enhancing and nurturing

resiliency in student nurse.

Condon (2014) utilized Parses theory of humanbecoming as the theoretic framework on

a study to investigate the influence of being overwhelmed has a persons wellbeing. Future

nursing research could utilize Parses theory to better understand the influence of being

overwhelmed has on student nurses and provide the nurse educator with insight on how to

support the student nurse in transitioning into professional practice.

Vishavdeep, Sharma, Das, PrahbhjotMalhi, & Ghai (2016) pre-experimental study was

designed to assess the effect of Emotional Intelligence skill training on the emotional intelligence

of nursing students. The study was conducted on B.Sc. Nursing students of PGIMER,

Chandigarh. All the students of B.Sc. Nursing four years studying during year 2014 were

enrolled as study samples. The conceptual framework of the study was based on Roys

Adaptation Model and Golemans Model of Emotional Intelligence (Vishavdeep et al., 2016, p.



A phenomenological qualitative research design will be utilized for the research study. A

phenomenological research approach provides the researcher with an opportunity to gain a deep

understanding of the nature or meaning of everyday experience. The lived experience is the

focus of this type of research. The assumption of this type of study is that there may be a variety

of interpretations of the same lived experience. (Fain, 2017).

Classroom contracts are utilizing at a private Catholic nursing program in central

Virginia to facilitate interpersonal relationships and promote an environment conducive for


learning and role development. Classroom contracts are part of the lived experience at the

college. The assumption of the study is that the classroom contracts is a strategy to enhance

student-nurse educator relationship resulting in enhanced resilience in student nurses. The design

of the study is to gain in-depth understanding of impact classroom contracts have on the student-

nurse educator relationship.

Face-to face interviews using videotaping and audiotaping will be utilized to obtain data.

The sample will be obtained utilizing the snowball method. In snowball sampling, participants

are obtained by word of mouth from other participants (Fain, 2017).

A descriptive analysis was utilized to provide a detailed summary of the students written

responses. One faculty member read the written summary and identified emerging themes.

Final themes were selected by the research team. The team of faculty discussed the findings and

identified the main themes (Schwindt & McNeil, 2015).



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