Experiences of nontraditional students enrolled in the registered nursing program in Zambia.
This was an exploratory, descriptive survey employing both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The aim of the was to explore and describe the experiences of nontraditional students enrolled in the registered nursing program in Zambia in order to facilitate an understanding of their meaning perspectives of the program. A total of 13 participants took part in the qualitative part of the survey. Qualitative data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews. The interviews were audio taped then transcribed. The data were then analysed according to categories and themes derived from respondents' statement. Unit of analysis was the whole statement. Each unit of meaning was categorized and transformed into themes that express its implicit or explicit meaning. The transformed statements were synthesized into statements of the participants' experiences. As a way of validating the results, a questionnaire was then designed from the themes of the qualitative part of the survey. The questionnaire comprised of 16 statements, to which conversion students in the other three nursing schools, which did not participate in the qualitative component, were requested to respond. The questionnaires were mailed to 55 students and the response rate was 71%. Descriptive statistics was used to anlyse the data and this was done by means of frequencies and percentage. The results of the survey have shown that participants went through transformed meaning perspective and appreciated their participation in the program. They viewed the program as providing them with new knowledge and an opportunity for personal and professional development. Technical support from teachers and clinical staff, collaborative learning, family support and availability of facilities such as the library were seen as facilitating factors to learning. The hindering factors identified were inadequate clinical supervision, lack of material resources and limited access in the library as this did not allow for search of information after working hours.