The Contribution of NUR 300 Class

NUR 3000 is meant to be a bridge for the adult student, by which he or she may make a smooth transition into an academic setting while assuming new responsibilities as a nursing student. The course is designed to give to the student those skills which are necessary for the successful completion of the student’s education. There are specific skills needed to be successful as a nurse and this course is designed to bring those to the student. The educational goals set by the student can best be achieved if the student is fully versed on all the tools of the trade, and NUR 3000 is designed for that purpose.

During the course of this class the student participates in discussions concerning the role of the student nurse vis a vis the university milieu. The student is required to demonstrate the ability to produce an academic work meeting the guidelines of the American Psychological Association style.

The student is instructed in ways to identify the tools needed by professional nurses in the course of their duties. This includes guidelines for evidence-based practice and the student is taught to apply those tools to further productivity and learning. The student is taught to identify a system in which responsibilities can be prioritized. In this course there are participatory discussions relative to the most efficient methods of educating clients and colleagues.

The use of a word processor is virtually mandatory in any technical work and knowledge of the ways in which it can be used is vitally important to nurses (L. Pray, personal communication, February 20, 2007).  In this course the students becomes familiar with all aspects of the program and are then expected to be skilled in their uses. The old typewriter, which the word processor replaced, served but one purpose, which was to put print onto a sheet of paper. The word processor is multi-dimensional and saves time and effort, which can be better spent on clients and other work. The word processor has become indispensable, and students of this course are now competent on it.

There are different formatting styles in academic writing. Nurses are expected to become proficient in the American Psychological style. The course teaches student nurses the nuances of this particular style, coupled with the understanding of what its primary use happens to be.  It is for scientific works primarily and has a unique method for in text citations and referencing. ‘APA is a widely accepted format for writing research papers, particularly for social science manuscripts and theses,’ (APA, n.d.). Coupled with the word processor, it is one more weapon in the nurse’s arsenal, and beneficial in the spreading of information in a uniform manner.

There is a distinction between scholarly journals, periodicals and popular magazines, with much of that difference in the quality of the written word. Peer reviewed material is considered the highest authority available to the student. Journalists write popular magazine articles, for the most part. They are frequently full of opinion and conjecture. Periodicals are the most prolific in terms of sales. They are ubiquitous and come in various formats, with ‘Some periodicals [using] the newspaper format,’ (Burkart, 1964, 11-22). The course has taught that peer review material is the most reliable and valuable source of information.

No academic writing can contain plagiarized material. It is not only theft of intellectual property, it is a disservice to the creator of the material. The reason that APA style is so useful is that it makes it relatively easy to cite the source of any material or idea used in an academic paper. There is no excuse to overlook the citation of another person’s work. Though Mallon wrote, in Stolen Words, that the Romans often reworded Greek literature and that Virgil is Homeric (1991), that is not a license to steal.

Paraphrasing and summarizing are techniques used in academic writing to set apart words and ideas that do not belong the author of the document. They are not the same as a direct quote, but still convey the gist of the idea. Paraphrases take the original author’s words and put them into the words of the student writing the new paper. Summaries have the flavor of the original but lack the detail. Both must be attributed to the creator of the original words or ideas in the text of the new document.

In this course students learn to cope with the stress that naturally arises on the job.  Job related stress among nurses can be a source of illness and lead to burnout. According to the Framingham Heart Study data, failure to show or discuss anger leads to coronary problems later in life (Thomas, 2004). This course teaches the student effective methods to deal with what can become a major problem if not addressed.

The time management strategies that are taught in this course have been beneficial. The concept of assessing where the time goes and how the student spends it will be an asset to be used in the field when the student becomes the nurse.

One advantage to online learning is that the student can, within limits, go at his or he own pace. The student can learn anytime or anywhere, again, within reason. However, they take up time, for they utilize the printed word as opposed to oral lecture. Still, it appears that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

This course was designed to teach student nurses the basics job skills required in the nursing profession. It covered the topics well and did a superior job of instructing the students in the subject matter with which it dealt.

References

.APA style. (n.d.) Retrieved 2-22-07 from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APA_style

J. Burkart, (1964)  The Journal of Industrial Economics, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 11-22

Retrieved 2-22-07 from:http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-1821%28196411%2913%3A1%3C11%3ARTIPP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9&size=SMALL 

Mallon, T., (1991) Stolen Words U.S.A.: Penguin Books 4

Thomas, S. 2004 Transforming Nurses’ Stress and Anger New York:

Singer Publishing Co. Inc.  50