In Sweden, regulations from the National Agency for Higher Education advocate an education that equips students with independence as well as critical, problem-based thinking, i.e. academic literacy skills. However, some research findings indicate that students may leave higher education without mastering these skills effectively. As part of quality-assuring a nursing programme at a university college in south-east Sweden we explored the nursing student's view of crucial academic literacy skills, such as critical thinking and appraisal and academic writing, by conducting a descriptive, qualitative study. Informants were recruited through an advertisement posted on the university's e-learning tool. Eight focused interviews were conducted during autumn 2010. The transcribed interviews were analysed – inspired by content analysis – and two categories became apparent: constantly questioning and formality before substance. The latter revealed a gap between the student's perception of academic writing and that of the educators, thus implying that nursing students might not be equipped with the tools they need to develop within academia. We suggest that students could benefit in their academic endeavours from theoretical educational models that integrate several academic skills simultaneously and which could be incorporated into the development of syllabuses and curriculums.
Harrington, Anne and Price, Bob (2010). Critical Thinking and Writing for Nursing Students. Transforming Nursing Practice. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.
This book is part of the Transforming Nursing Practice series, written specifically to support students on pre registration nursing programmes. The ability to think critically is a core skill that modern nurses need to develop in order to improve quality of care in practice.However, many nursing students find learning to think critically daunting. This book is a clear and practical guide to developing critical thinking skills. The first part of the book helps the reader to understand what critical thinking is and why it is important, while the second part shows how to use critical thinking in practical contexts throughout nursing programmes. The final part shows how to demonstrate your abilities in written form. Throughout, the book spells out the transferable nature of critical thinking skills from academic contexts to the practice of nursing.