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Nurse Educ Pract. 2005 Nov;5(6):360-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2005.05.007. Epub 2005 Sep 16.

Development of professional confidence by post diploma baccalaureate nursing students.

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McMaster University School of Nursing, 1200 Main St. West, Hamilton, Ont., Canada L8N 3Z5.


Professional confidence should be nurtured in a caring nursing curriculum, however there is a lack of clarity as to what confidence means, how it is perceived by students, and what educators can do to instill professional confidence in nursing students. A qualitative study using focus groups was conducted to explore the components of professional confidence as perceived by diploma-prepared registered nurses enrolled in a two-year student-centered, problem-based baccalaureate degree program. Students identified professional confidence as developing through a two-phase process. During the first phase, Becoming Informed, students reported acquiring knowledge, theory and critical thinking in the supportive environment of small tutorial groups, which in turn enabled them to examine nursing practice and defend decisions with clarity and confidence. In Finding a Voice of My Own they clearly articulated an evidence-based nursing position in both academic and clinical environments with a sense of ownership and congruence with their own values. Each phase was further composed of four processes: feeling, knowing, doing and reflecting. When supported through these phases, students felt prepared (i.e. confident) to assume broader roles in health care. Post diploma programs should acknowledge and build on the skills and abilities nurses bring to the educational setting, yet challenge learners to develop critical self appraisal.


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