• Perceptions of Faculty Caring: Comparison of Distance and Traditional Graduate Nursing Students

      Hall, Lea R. (2010-07-20)
      The concept of caring has played a vital role in nursing education. Role modeling has been identified as the primary way to teach caring and has been investigated extensively. As caring has evolved, so has the ways in which we educate nurses. Countless institutions now offer distance education programs in nursing in an effort to address the nurse and nurse educator shortage. It is unclear, however, from the nursing education literature if the modeling of caring can be transferred to students in a distance learning environment. This study investigated the impact of learning environment, program satisfaction, and persistence on graduate nursing students’ perceptions of faculty caring measured by the Organizational Climate for Caring Questionnaire. The 162 participants were recruited from 76 different accredited institutions throughout five states. Preliminary review of the data revealed no variability in persistence among the sample as all students were planning to persist or were graduating. Therefore a two-way analysis of variance was conducted and found no significant interaction between learning environment and student satisfaction and no significant main effect for learning environment. Satisfied students, however, did perceive their faculty as more caring than unsatisfied students. Results from this study indicate that as students feel cared for by their faculty, they are more satisfied with their programs of study, which may lead to better outcomes and increased student retention rates. Furthermore, no differences were found among the three learning environments indicating that role modeling of caring can occur in the distance environment as in the traditional face-to-face environment. Nurse educators need to be aware of both caring and non-caring behaviors they portray regardless of learning environment, and the impact they have on student satisfaction and student persistence.