An Exploration of The Art of Nursing in Nursing Educational Programs in Iowa
Using Peplau's interpersonal relations theory (1991), this study explored how nursing educational programs located in Iowa, that prepare students for the NCLEX-RN examination conceptualize the art of nursing, teach the art of nursing, and integrate the art of nursing within the nursing educational curricula. In addition, the study explored whether complementary therapies are taught to emphasize the art of nursing within the educational curricula. All twenty-nine nursing educational programs in Iowa, that prepare students for the NCLEX-RN examination, were surveyed, using a three-page questionnaire developed by the researcher. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze and evaluate the data obtained from six baccalaureate degree and six associate degree nursing educational programs. Analysis of the data revealed that the themes of interpersonal relations and caring were included most frequently in the definitions of the art of nursing. There were no statistically significant differences between baccalaureate and associate degree nursing programs related to the integration of the art of nursing within the curriculum or the extent of integration of the possible dimensions of the art of nursing (p>.05). Planned classroom learning experiences and clinical experiences to teach the art of nursing varied between the two types of programs. Differences between the types of programs and the teaching of complementary therapies were found, with baccalaureate degree nursing programs emphasizing the importance of complementary therapies more frequently. A lack of specific evaluation criteria and methods related to the art of nursing also were found in both types of programs. The findings of this study revealed that nurse educators in Iowa are making an effort to incorporate the art of nursing into the nursing curriculum. These programs need to continue to find ways to integrate the art of nursing throughout the curriculum and evaluate the art of nursing. Future research needs to focus on how other types of nursing educational programs define, integrate, and evaluate the art of nursing, as well as the use of complementary therapies as a means to teach the art of nursing. Criteria and methods to evaluate the art of nursing also need to be explored. This study can be used to assist nursing educational programs to examine their curricula and develop creative strategies for teaching the art of nursing.