How students felt about being involved in a clinical research.


Henoch et al carried out a research to determine how students felt about being involved in a clinical research. The researcher invited one hundred and twenty six students who would take part in the study as data collectors. The study used David Kolb’s experiential learning theory as its basis. The study was carried out to gauge students’ levels in nursing research, their learning experiences and their attitude towards being involved in clinical research. The study also aimed at investigating what improved the students’ interests in nursing. The research compared those that used deep learning and those who used surface learning to compare who increased their levels of interest regarding nursing research.

Background of the study

The study will focus on the nursing students’ experiences on clinical research. The purpose of the study was to investigate nursing students’ participation in clinical research, their interest levels in nursing research and their learning experiences.  It is believed that the involvement of students in clinical research helps them better their attitudes towards nursing and also improve the health care towards their patients.  Henoch et al., (2014) argue that the involvement of nursing students in clinical research will improve and increase the use of evidence-based nursing.

When students are involved in a clinical research, there is a high probability that their knowledge and skills on evidence-based nursing methods will be increased. The use of evidence-based in turn helps in the better outcomes on the sides of the patients. The basis of the study was David Kolb’s experiential learning theory.  The theory defines learning as “the process whereby knowledge is created through transformation of experience”, (Kolb, 1984).  The study will try to compare those that use deep learning to those who use surface learning and how experiential learning will affect both groups.

Methods of study

The research will utilize both qualitative and quantitative methods. Descriptive and cross sectional types of designs will also utilized. The research will involve nursing students who are undertaking a research methodology course in their third year. These students will act as data collectors in wards where the data collection will be done. The project will be carried out in two phases both using the same procedures. One will be carried out at the University Hospital on February while the other will be carried out on September at the County Hospital in which both cases will use different students. The study will involve a total of 100 wards, which will involve different departments like the geriatric. In total 70 students will be involved in the research.

The researchers opted to start with a pilot study to ensure everything will go as planned and later some adjustments were made. The students attended three workshops before the data collection day. The three workshops included the observation, the interview and the questionnaire workshops. The three workshops were to help the students get ready for the data collection. During the data collection, the students were allocated wards depending on the number of beds in a ward. Patients were given an opportunity to consider if they wanted to take part in the study. The ones who agreed undertook a structured interview. At the end of the data all, the research materials were collected and locked away. After the study, the students filled a questionnaire including a demographic form, an evaluation form and a revised study process questionnaire.  The questionnaires were both open ended and closed. The questionnaires were later analyzed quantitatively while one open-ended question was analyzed qualitatively.

Results of the study

The students who participated in the research were satisfied in the data collection. Four out of students stated that data collection should be part of the nursing course regularly. The students expressed their increased interest in symptoms and nursing research. Their interest and knowledge in symptom evaluation also increased.  Majority agreed that the experience was interesting and informative. They noted that it was a preparation that they required in their role as nurses. As earlier stated increased exposure and knowledge by nurses will lead to them having positive attitudes towards what they do. If the nurses love what they do that would mean that the patients’ outcomes will also be overwhelming.

The students who improved on their attitude mostly used the deep learning study. The ones who used deep learning kind of study were older that those who used surface learning. Borredon et al. (2011) defined deep learning as learning that fully incorporates four parts of experiential learning; experience, reflecting, thinking and acting.

There was a section of students who felt uncomfortable or were unprepared to face the suffering of the patient. When some of the patients gave more information about their illness rather than what had been asked, the students did not know how to deal with the situation. The solution to this kind of problem would be train students on how to talk with patients on their illnesses and distress. Considering that the students were on their second last year before graduation, it will be vital if this aspect is integrated into training.

Involvement of students in clinical research is therefore an important part of their learning process. They are able to expand their knowledge and be encouraged in the process. When one loves what they do, then the results in their work will reflect excellence. Students involvement will in one way or another improve how the health care is provided.

Ethical considerations

The researchers obtained an Ethical approval from the Region Ethics Committee (Ref. No. 640-10). The hospital managements also agreed with the idea. The patients signed consent from to show that they agree with the interview. They were also given an opportunity to decide whether they wanted to be in the study or not. This means that they were given the freedom and none of their rights were infringed on. Their privacy was well protected.

There were no conflicts of interest at all during the research and all ethical issues were observed. An ethical issue that came up will be how the students handle the patients’ suffering when they are interviewing them. Most of them were not able to deal with patients who were opening up to them about their problems.


The research was able to determine that students with higher levels of deep learning were able to increase their interest in nursing research. The study was also able to tackle the importance of preparing students before being involved in interviewing sessions with patients. The students should be trained on how to deal with distress from the patients. Future researches were however recommended to determine ways that can be used to increase interest among students with lower levels of deep learning. More studies are also recommended to determine whether experiential learning betters deep learning.



Borredon L., Deffayet S., Baker A. C.,  Kolb D. (2011) Enhancing deep Learning: Lessons From the Introduction of Learning Teams in Management education in France. Journal of Management Education Vol.35 No. 3 324-350

Henoch I., Ung J. C., Ozanne A., Falk H., Falk K., Sarenmalm E.K., Ohlen J., & Fridh I. (2014) Nursing Students Experiences of Involvement in Clinical Research: An Exploratory Study Nurse Education in Practice Vol.14(2014): 188-194

Kolb D. A (1984) Experiential Learning Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice Hall PTR, New Jersey

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