Faculty Publications

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February 2012

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International Journal of Mental Health Nursing



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baccalaureate, education, learning, mental health, nursing


Nursing | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


With the popularity of accelerated pre‐licensure nursing programmes and the growth in nursing student enrolments, traditional clinical education continues to be a challenge to deliver. Nursing faculty members are required to develop and implement educational innovations that achieve effective learning outcomes, while using fewer resources. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the effectiveness of a constructivism‐based learning project to achieve specific learning outcomes and to supplement approximately 30 clinical hours in a psychiatric–mental health nursing course. Students participated in a 10‐week, multistage project that examined life histories, treatment resources, and evidence‐based practice, as applied to a single individual with a mental illness. Students reported increased understanding of mental health and illness, developed personal relevance associated with the knowledge gained, and learned to problem solve with regard to nursing care of individuals diagnosed with mental illness. For many students, there also appeared to be a reduction in stigmatized attitudes towards mental illness. Constructivism‐based learning is a promising alternative to supplement clinical hours, while effectively achieving learning outcomes. Future research is needed to further validate the use of this method for the learning of course content, as well as the reduction of stigma.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Hampton, Michelle DeCoux. (2012 February). Constructivism Applied to Psychiatric–Mental Health Nursing: An Alternative to Supplement Traditional Clinical Education. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 21(1): p. 60-68, which has been published in final form at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2011.00755.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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