HealthApril 15, 2018

Teaching for context: A story-based approach for nurse educators

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When students are asked, “Hey, how did clinical go?” the response is usually universal: “Oh, it’s great. Everything I learned, I learned during clinical.” Some of the strategies discussed in this text may, hopefully, change students’ perception and, eventually, may get them to respond to the above question with: “Almost everything I learned, I learned in clinical.”

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Context is everything. Our students tell us they don’t really learn anything until they get to clinical. The different between sitting and class and working with patients is context. Context is the glue that makes learning stick. So how can we make our work in the classroom work for our students? Case studies are an excellent strategy to promote student engagement and, more importantly, retention of information. Similar to clinical and simulation learning, the effective use of clinical case studies in the classroom provides the context that makes the content memorable.

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