Shifting the Focus: Increasing Engagement and Improving Performance of Nursing Students in Bioscience Subjects Using Face-to-Face Workshops to Reduce Anxiety
AbstractThe difficulty many undergraduate nursing students have with science subjects is often attributed to deficiencies in background knowledge, but anxiety about science subjects could also be involved. While reports indicate that nursing students feel anxious about science-based subjects, the cause of this anxiety and how to reduce it has received less attention. This project aimed 1) to identify the sources of anxiety experienced by nursing students at the start of their first year, and 2) to develop a two-day workshop to reduce anxiety and enhance engagement with science subjects. When surveyed, a substantial proportion of nursing students reported feeling anxious about a range of science and non-science-based activities. To address this anxiety, a two-day “Get Ready for Science” face-to-face workshop was developed and made available to nursing students. Attendees report that the workshops reduced their anxiety and enhanced their engagement with science subjects. In addition, the final grades and the rate of progression through the nursing course of workshop attendees have been significantly higher than non-attendees. These outcomes demonstrate that face-to-face workshops aimed at reducing anxiety can improve nursing student’s engagement with, and performance in, bioscience subjects.