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Open Access Research article

Baccalaureate nursing Students’ perspectives on learning about caring in China: a qualitative descriptive study

Fang Ma12, Jiping Li1*, Hongmin Liang2, Yangjuan Bai3 and Jianhua Song2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nursing, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

2 Department of Nursing, the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China

3 Cardiology Department, the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:42  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-42

Published: 4 March 2014

Abstract

Background

The need to provide humanistic care in the contemporary healthcare system is more imperative now and the importance of cultivating caring in nursing education is urgent. Caring as the primary work of nursing has been discussed extensively, such as the meaning of caring, and teaching and learning strategies to improve nursing students’ caring ability. Yet attempts to understand students’ perspectives on learning about caring and to know their learning needs are seldom presented. The aim of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the baccalaureate nursing students’ perspectives on learning about caring in China.

Methods

A qualitative descriptive study using focus group interviews were undertaken in two colleges in Yunnan Province, China from February 2010 to April 2010. Purposeful sampling of 20 baccalaureate nursing students were recruited. Content analysis of the transcribed data was adopted to identify the themes.

Results

Four categories with some sub-categories related to students’ perspectives on learning about caring were identified from the data: 1) Learning caring by role model; 2) conducive learning environment as the incentive to the learning about caring; 3) lack of directive substantive way of learning as the hindrance to the learning about caring; 4) lack of cultural competency as the barrier to the learning about caring.

Conclusions

Both caring and uncaring experiences can promote the learning about caring in a way of reflective practice. The formal, informal and hidden curricula play an important role in the learning about caring. Cultural awareness, sensitivity and humility are important in the process of learning to care in a multicultural area.

Keywords:
Caring; Baccalaureate nursing students; Focus group; Nursing; Qualitative study