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Teaching Strategies: The Evidence-Based Practice Course as an Opportunity for Writing
Susan R. Dewar MSN, MA, RN, CNE

Nurse Educator
August 2012 
Volume 37  Number 4
Pages 143 - 144
  PDF Version Available!

Leaders in many healthcare facilities are seeking recognition as centers of excellence with the expectation that staff nurses will engage in scholarly writing.1 However, many students graduate from higher education programs without mastering formal writing skills,2 with fear of writing a common phenomenon.3 At the same time, faculty tend to expect students to demonstrate mastery of writing skills in their assignments, whereas most nursing programs do not emphasize development of these skills.4 Students are expected to be able to write even though no one has taught them or is willing to accept the onerous responsibility of the task. Faculty are being asked to examine their expectations of student writing and redesign their instructional approaches to the acquisition of formal writing ability by nursing students.4The literature shows that writers who have a good command of English tend to be more proficient readers and speakers,3 and the ability to clearly and eloquently communicate is essential in the delivery of safe, quality patient care.5 Given these issues, incorporation of both writing and evidence-based practice across the BSN curriculum seems a necessity if students are to enter the nursing workforce adequately prepared for practice in a rapidly changing healthcare system.5,6Because our evidence-based course for senior nursing students involved writing assignments, and we wanted to address student writing skills, we incorporated a series of writing workshops into the course. Our intent was to create a student-centered, risk-free practice environment for the improvement of writing skills. The 8-week course met 2 days a week in 3-hour sessions and 1 day each week was devoted to writing.Because students often feel overwhelmed by research-based writing assignments,5 their assignment, an evidence-based synthesis paper on a topic relevant to nursing practice, was due in stages to help them complete the work in the allotted time frame and allow multiple opportunities

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