Perceptions of Caring and Nursing by Senior Level Baccalaureate Nursing Students from Thailand and the United States as Influenced by Curriculum Focus: A Descriptive, Comparative Study
Author(s)Stopper, Mary Constance
Contributor(s)Connors, Helen R.
Popkess-Vawter, Sue A.
Nelson, John W
Stehno-Bittel, Lisa A
Care for others
Care of self
Nursing students in USA and Thailand
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AbstractThe health care delivery system and its services are experiencing significant changes that affect nursing's core concept of caring. These changes are often complicated, influenced by the context of a particular environment, and are comprised of specific purposes and agendas aimed at meeting the healthcare needs of the consumer. Healthcare organizations are structures through which individuals cooperate systematically to conduct business. Business like as it may sound, "within the walls of the health care organization in all settings, profound human experiences happen every single day" (Koloroutis, 2004, p. 7) that strike to the essence of nursing, that of caring. Challenges unique to nursing must be addressed in this changing environment. It is appropriate, therefore, that the essential characteristic of caring within the profession of nursing and within all cultures be a focus of study. Nursing faculty have as their role to develop and implement curriculums that contribute to the development of the skills needed to prepare graduates for practice in an increasingly complex healthcare environment while still fostering the professional socialization of students into the values, principles, and beliefs of the profession. Evaluation of the effects of the curriculum in preparing students to practice in an environment aimed at healing and caring is encompassed within this role. In the process of curriculum change aimed at meeting societal health care needs, faculty continues to be challenged to monitor for gaps in the overall curriculum. In meeting the challenges for the future, curriculum models are being developed and implemented based on caring science. This study compared nursing schools that have incorporated a caring model curriculum with a systems model curriculum. Students from three schools in the Southeast or Midwest United States, and Thailand participated in the study. Senior level and entry level students provided their perceptions of caring using the Caring Factor Survey - Care Provider Version (CFS-CPV) and the Caring Factor Survey - Care for Self (CFS-CS) instruments. Demographic information was also collected. There were no statistically significant differences between schools having a caring curriculum model and a systems model. Significant positive correlations were found for CFS-Care Provider and Care for Self total scores; that is, those students who scored higher on the care provider instrument also scored higher on the care for self-instrument. Entry level students in Thailand scored higher than seniors from the Southeast and Midwest schools on the CFS-Care Provider and Care for Self instrument. Qualitative themes related to reasons motivating answering of the questions included: positive attitude or respect toward self-care, personal attributes, current intervening factors that decrease the ability to care for self, external factors contributing to self-care such as family, friends, and life experience, influence of faith, religion, and spirituality, personal philosophical statements, and lifestyle. While there was variability in the demographics, these did not have statistical significance on the study. The outcomes of the study have generated further questions for research and confirm the importance of focused study on the development of curricula, creation of courses consistent with the curriculum, implementation of learning strategies, and evaluation of outcomes in meeting the goal of sustaining nursing's value of caring as it relates to health of individuals and populations and across cultures.