Promoting the cognitive development of freshman nursing students.
One of the goals of baccalaureate nursing education is to facilitate students' cognitive development, that is, their ability to employ reason, manage diversity, and engage in contextual decision-making. Despite this goal, however, studies indicate that the majority of nursing students tend to be at the lower levels of development, rather than at more advanced levels. The purpose of the study reported here was to describe the cognitive development of one university's nursing student population at the beginning and end of the freshman year, investigate the effects of planned developmental instruction strategies on cognitive growth, and investigate the relationship among cognitive development, GPA, and SAT scores. While subjects evidenced some cognitive growth, the mean level of cognitive development for all subjects was at the lower end of the scale. Specific instructional strategies are described, statistical and qualitative analyses of groups are reported, and suggestions for further research are proposed.
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