A wide range of approaches is used in nursing, as each may work better under certain conditions. Nevertheless, recently the importance of teaching future nurses all the essential features of critical thinking has become a widely discussed topic. One of the best options to achieve the task of introducing medical students to some scenarios featuring extreme working conditions is to apply problem-based learning. This educational approach has been used in nursing school curricula for several decades already. Therefore, there is already a large amount of data that can allow scholars to evaluate the overall efficiency of this method. Currently, there is a growing demand for new, highly productive learning techniques that can enhance future nurses’ performance. Problem-based learning undoubtedly may become this long-sought-after ingenious approach.
Sometimes, nurses that have just entered the profession encounter an unprecedented amount of stress, as some of the everyday issues imply a high degree of autonomy and frequent use of critical thinking. Therefore, problem-based learning should become a vital part of the learning process in nursing schools. Car et al. (2019) define problem-based learning as an iterative process consisting of three parts: a problem presentation and analysis phase, a self-directed learning phase, and a synthesis and reporting phase. This new approach tends to provide future nurses with crucial experience that cannot be acquired through the traditional lecture format. The latter may be useful in many cases, as it provides sufficient theoretical background knowledge, but it cannot serve as the primary approach to the learning process in the 21st century.
The problem-based approach has proven to be extremely beneficial across multiple studies focusing on the issue. “nursing case-based learning” is an effective course to develop the critical thinking abilities of nursing students (Li et al., 2019). The problem-based approach is student-centered at its core, which allows providing students the opportunity to cooperate in small groups in order to seek the best solution for each case scenario. According to Wosinski et al. (2018), tutors should be trained to effectively guide the teamwork of undergraduate nursing students along the PBL process in order for them to achieve the goal. Therefore, tutors bear a high level of responsibility when it comes to creating the proper atmosphere for the implementation of the problem-based approach.
Simulation, in general, provides a nice opportunity for students to acquire firsthand experience featuring almost the entire decision-making process under harsh working conditions. Hung et al. (2021) underline that simulation-based learning is effective in improving nursing students’ perceived competence, self-efficacy, and learning satisfaction. Moreover, students’ motivation should be taken into consideration when comparing more conservative methods and the problem-based approach. Dearnley et al. (2018) have proved that team-based learning is a strategy that can impact student engagement, student satisfaction, attainment, practice development, and transformative teaching and learning. Therefore, it is of major importance to encourage future nurses to cooperate and work efficiently in small teams when making crucial decisions.
All the above-mentioned articles are centered around problem-based learning and the importance of teamwork in nursing school curricula. The research results provided by each of them extensively show the same tendencies that indicate superior results of focus groups that employ the problem-based approach widely. Nevertheless, some articles focus on nurses’ academic performance, while others tend to highlight the enhanced motivation levels and ability to cooperate. Despite different emphases, the articles provide a substantial body of evidence that can be utilized when advocating for the encouragement of problem-based learning in nursing schools. At the same time, the articles lack data on efficient ways of combining traditional approaches and problem-based learning. Therefore, new studies are needed that can find the appropriate ratio in order to develop more comprehensive curricula.
Car, L. T., Kyaw, B. M., Dunleavy, G., Smart, N. A., Semwal, M., Rotgans, J. I., Low-Beer, N., & Campbell, J. (2019). Digital problem-based learning in health professions: Systematic review and meta-analysis by the digital health education collaboration. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(2), e12945. Web.
Dearnley, C., Rhodes, C., Roberts, P., Williams, P., & Prenton, S. (2018). Team-based learning in nursing and midwifery higher education; a systematic review of the evidence for change. Nurse Education Today, 60(1), 75–83. Web.
Hung, C. C., Kao, H. F. S., Liu, H. C., Liang, H. F., Chu, T. P., & Lee, B. O. (2021). Effects of simulation-based learning on nursing students’ perceived competence, self-efficacy, and learning satisfaction: A repeat measurement method. Nurse Education Today, 97(2), 104725. Web.
Li, S., Ye, X., & Chen, W. (2019). Practice and effectiveness of “nursing case-based learning” course on nursing student’s critical thinking ability: A comparative study. Nurse Education in Practice, 36(3), 91–96. Web.
Wosinski, J., Belcher, A. E., Dürrenberger, Y., Allin, A. C., Stormacq, C., & Gerson, L. (2018). Facilitating problem-based learning among undergraduate nursing students: A qualitative systematic review. Nurse Education Today, 60(1), 67–74. Web.