Perceptions of students and nurse educators about teaching and learning in the clinical skills laboratory in Kigali health institute/ Rwanda : an exploratory-descriptive study.
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In the past, clinical skills were wholly performed at bedside in which patients were used as teaching aids. The profound change in professional education and health care systems had made this teaching method less effective. Therefore clinical skills laboratory (CSL) is widely adopted as a strategy to support student development of clinical skills. However, there is little empirical evidence about perceptions of students and nurse educators engaged in day to day learning and teaching in the CSLs. This study was therefore aimed at exploring the perceptions of students and nurse educators about teaching and learning in the clinical laboratory in Kigali Health Institute in Rwanda. This study was a quantitative descriptive exploratory design. Data were collected trough the use of questionnaires. Students, nurse educators were asked to rate their views on a 5 points Likert scale about antecedents, teaching and learning strategies used in the CSL, teaching and learning process, benefits of the teaching and learning in the CSL and limitations. Three open ended questions were asked to nurse educators about the benefits of teaching and learning in the CSL, limitations and their recommendations for effective use of the CSL. A document review was done to complete data. The total number of participants who returned questionnaires in this study was 214 students and 17 nurse educators. The results of this study revealed that students and nurse educators view the teaching and learning valuable, the location of the CSC was important factor in students teaching and learning, resources were available and the CSL administration ensured smooth running of the CSL. However there was a lack of enough staff for effective teaching and learning in the CSL. The findings revealed that innovative teaching and learning strategies (demonstration, peer learning, small group, reflective learning and self directed learning) were used in the CSL. The CSL was accessed through booking and time tabled sessions and students support from nurse educators was ensured. The CSL was seen by both students and nurse educators as a learning environment which supports the linking of theory and practice, ensure students practicing skills, offer to student a safe environment to learn. However there was a gap in teaching and learning communication skills. There was limitation for teaching and learning as it is costly in staffing resources and maintenance, not clearly stated in the curriculum and KHI academic policy, time consuming for nurse educators and requires expertise from nurse educators to cope with students needs. The findings espouse many previous study findings in nursing education domain. The results reflected that the location or accessibility of the CSL, as well as the availability of material and human resources, having a CSL coordinators is critical to ensure effecting teaching and learning in the CSL, the teaching and learning process favour innovative teaching strategies, other researches in the area revealed benefits and limitation of the CSL.