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Questioning skills of clinical facilitators supporting undergraduate nursing students

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-01, 00:00 authored by Nikki PhillipsNikki Phillips, Maxine DukeMaxine Duke, Ronamali Weerasuriya
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To report on a study investigating questioning skills of clinical facilitators who support the learning of undergraduate nursing students. BACKGROUND: The ability to think critically is integral to decision-making and the provision of safe and quality patient care. Developing students' critical thinking skills is expected of those who supervise and facilitate student learning in the clinical setting. Models used to facilitate student learning in the clinical setting have changed over the years with clinicians having dual responsibility for patient care and facilitating student learning. Many of these nurses have no preparation for the educative role. This study adapted a comparative study conducted over fifteen years ago. DESIGN: Descriptive online survey including three acute care patient scenarios involving an undergraduate nursing student. Participants were required to identify the questions they would ask the student in relation to the scenario. METHODS: A total of 133 clinical facilitators including clinical teachers, clinical educators and preceptors from five large partner healthcare organisations of one Australian university participated. RESULTS: The majority of questions asked were knowledge questions, the lowest category in the cognitive domain requiring only simple recall of information. Facilitators who had undertaken an education-related course/workshop or formal qualification asked significantly more questions from the higher cognitive level. CONCLUSION: The study provides some evidence that nursing facilitators in the clinical setting ask students predominantly low-level questions. Further research is needed to identify strategies that develop the capacity of facilitators to ask higher level cognitive questions. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Clinical facilitators should undertake targeted education that focuses on how to frame questions for students that demand application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.



Journal of clinical nursing






4344 - 4352




Chichester, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, John Wiley & Sons