Using an innovative research-based process to facilitate scholarly writer development
Elizabeth A. Gazza, RN, FACCE, LCCE; Teresa Shellenbarger, RN, CNE, ANEF; Diane F. Hunker, RN
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Session presented on Thursday, July 23, 2015:
Purpose: Nursing students and practicing nurses around the world engage in a variety of writing activities throughout their nursing career as they disseminate information and share knowledge with other professionals. To communicate effectively they need to use appropriate communication skills and scholarly writing techniques. Scholarly writing is defined as writing that is specialized in nursing, communicates original thought, includes support from a body of literature, contains formal language consistent with the discipline of nursing, and is formatted in a manner consistent with peer-reviewed publications. Developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) associated with scholarly writing involves a process that unfolds over time and requires practice to effectively master. Students enter nursing education programs with diverse experiences and past educational preparation. Even upon graduation their writing abilities require refinement and additional practice that must continue after graduation in professional practice arenas. The literature suggests a variety of strategies that faculty can use to enhance the writing skills of nursing students. These strategies include scaffolding, sequencing, approaches to creating assignments, providing feedback, presenting style requirements, providing writing and support workshops, faculty development, and the effective use of rubrics and guidelines for writing activities (Bickes & Schim 2010; Cowles, Strickland, & Rodgers 2001; Gazza & Hunker, 2012; Harris 2006; Luthy, Peterson, Lassetter, & Callister 2009; Salamonson, Koch, Weaver, Everett, & Jackson 2010). Even though faculty use these techniques to develop student scholarly writing skills, they are not research-based strategies. The purpose of this presentation is to share an innovative research-based process that can be used to facilitate writer development across all levels of nursing education and with nurses practicing in clinical and academic settings. Additionally, attendees will devise a plan for incorporating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes specific to writing into the nursing curriculum, the practice environment, and/or for developing their own scholarly writing abilities.
Methods: The proposed writer development process is based on the results of two hermeneutic phenomenological studies that explored the experience of scholarly writer development in Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in nursing students (Gazza, Shellenbarger, & Hunker, 2012) and Doctoral of Nursing Practice (DNP) students (Shellenbarger, Hunker, & Gazza, 2014) at two universities in the Eastern United States.
Results: Findings from interviews with ten PhD nursing students revealed the themes of: coming to know about scholarly writing, shifting thinking in order to write scholarly, giving birth: the pleasure of scholarly writing, and putting all of the pieces together into the final product. Similarly, findings from the six DNP student interviews revealed the themes of: learning throughout life, influence of emotion, and getting through the gate. These studies provided the framework for developing the essential KSAs needed for scholarly writing development. The writing process that emerged incorporates KSAs for those just learning the scholarly writing approach through those who have mastered previous levels of writing (Hunker, Gazza, & Shellenbarger, 2014). The KSAs are cumulative in nature, meaning they build on those developed at the previous level of education or experience. Beginning writers focus on developing 'knowledge' or the cognition needed to write and as writing experience and knowledge increases, focus shifts to 'skill' and 'attitude' development. This leveling of the KSAs provides an assessment and teaching tool for educators or other nursing professionals who can evaluate writing progress and consider methods for ongoing development. Using the proposed process, attendees will devise a plan for incorporating the KSAs into the nursing curriculum, the practice environment, and/or for developing their own scholarly writing abilities.
Conclusion: This session will be of interest to nursing educators teaching at all levels of nursing education and to nurses who are interested in advancing the quality of nursing care through dissemination of evidence, or improving their own scholarly writing. Use of the research-based writer development process has the potential to effectively influence nursing education and facilitate writer development, which will ultimately enhance nursing communication and advancement of the discipline of nursing internationally.
Research Congress 2015 Theme: Question Locally, Engage Regionally, Apply Globally. Held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
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