Registered nurses’ reflections on bioscience courses during the undergraduate nursing program: An exploratory study

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Aims and objectives To explore new graduate registered nurses’ reflections of bioscience courses during their nursing program, and the relationship between bioscience content and their clinical practice. Background Undergraduate nursing students internationally find bioscience courses challenging, which may be due to the volume of content and level of difficulty of these courses. Such challenges may be exacerbated by insufficient integration between bioscience theory and nursing clinical practice. Design A descriptive, cross-sectional mixed methods study was conducted. Methods A 30-item questionnaire with five written response questions which explored recently registered nurses’ reflections on bioscience courses during their nursing degree was employed. Descriptive analyses were reported for individual items. Thematic analysis of qualitative responses were grouped to reveal emerging themes. Results Registered nurses’ (n=22) reflections revealed that bioscience courses were a significant challenge during their undergraduate program, and they lacked confidence explaining the biological basis of nursing. Participants would like improved knowledge of the relevant bioscience for nursing, and agreed that bioscience courses should be extended into the undergraduate final year. The importance of relating bioscience content to nursing practice was elaborated extensively throughout written responses. Conclusions Although registered nurses reflected that bioscience courses were difficult with large volumes of content, having more bioscience with greater relevance to nursing applications was considered important in their current clinical practice. It is suggested that bioscience academics develop greater contextual links between bioscience content and clinical practice relevant to nursing.