Good Teaching in the Undergraduate Nursing Experience

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the overall employment of nurses in the US will grow by about 15% by 2026, increasing the demand for nurses by nearly 600,000 positions. But, while the overall employment of nurses in the US is predicted to grow substantially over the course of the next decade, a common problem in the industry is rapid first-year turnover of nurses. The NSI Nursing Solutions group reported that 25% of nurses who terminate their employment do so during their first year. Several possible reasons are posited as to the cause for this early drop-out, but one suggested possibility is that new nursing graduates feel underprepared for their new positions.

Given the significant demand for—and high turnover rate of—new nurses, understanding concepts that relate to quality of nursing programs is essential. This research note details findings from a national dataset constructed from the AACN/Benchworks Undergraduate Nursing Exit Assessment of over 22,000 graduating nursing students from nearly 250 college colleges and universities in the United States. In particular, this research notes explores the relationship between quality classroom instruction and the broader undergraduate nursing experience.

The Role of Good Teaching to the Undergraduate Nursing Experience

When it comes to the undergraduate nursing experience, 94% of graduating nursing students who had high satisfaction with course interactions reported they were challenged to do their best academic work. In comparison, just 24% of low-satisfaction students indicated their program encouraged them to do their best.

Key Questions:

  1. How do graduating nursing students rate their instructors?
  2. 2. How does good teaching relate to the undergraduate nursing experience?

Key Points:

  • Overall, graduating nursing students reported high satisfaction on questions related to instruction.
  • Students who had excellent instructors are more likely to report high overall satisfaction and learning.
  • Quality of instruction is strongly related to whether students report high overall satisfaction and learning.

How Do Graduating Nursing Students Rate Their Instructors?

Data from the AACN/Benchworks Undergraduate Nursing Assessment indicates that the majority of graduating nursing students reported high satisfied with instructors in both their clinical and classroom nursing courses, as well as their broader classroom and clinic experiences that relate to teaching.

Figure 1 of the associated research note represents the distribution of responses across various categories to two questions related to instruction: one on the percentage of instructors in clinical nursing courses they rated as “Excellent” and one on the percentage of instructors in classroom nursing courses they rated as “Excellent.” Generally, graduating nursing students were more likely to rate instructors in clinical nursing courses as excellent. But, overall, the majority of students said that over half of their instructors in both clinical and classroom nursing courses were excellent.

About the Data

The data used in this research note is from the 2016-2017 AACN/Benchworks Undergraduate Nursing Exit Assessment. The survey was jointly designed by the survey development team at Skyfactor and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Undergraduate Nursing Exit Assessment provides administrators with valuable insight into the student experience and important outcomes related to the undergraduate nursing experience. Results can be effectively utilized to focus attention on both strengths and areas in need of improvement. The data in this research note are from 22,672 graduating nursing students from 241 four-year institutions in the United States.