The effects of concept mapping on student nurses’ learning of medical-surgical nursing

Sze Wing Julia Wong, Baaska Anderson, Martin Gough


Background and objective: Many student nurses are weak in studying medical-surgical nursing because higher-order skills are required to understand and incorporate prior knowledge with new knowledge. Hence, this study tried to employ concept mapping (CM) in teaching one medical-surgical nursing course to enhance their learning. The aims of this study are to explore the effects on student nurses’ learning experience and examine the difference in academic performance of students who learned this subject by using CM and those who did not.

Methods: This was a mixed research study conducted in 2017. The overall grade and pass rate were used to compare the differences between CM and non-CM groups. Moreover, focus group discussions after semesters were used to explore the impact of CM on student nurses’ learning.

Results: The difference of marks between the CM group (M = 77.90 and SD = 8.09) and non-CM group (M = 57.56 and SD = 10.16) was statistically significant (p = .000) with a large effect (Cohen’s d = 2.21). Twenty-six student nurses were interviewed in focus group discussions. The advantages and shortcomings of CM were identified. After new and prior knowledge was bridged, students used their own perceived effective method to re-organise knowledge and enhance their memory to prepare for written examinations.

Conclusions: To conclude, CM seems able to improve students’ academic performance, and students gained a good understanding of the relationships between concepts in medical-surgical nursing, especially for the students who were new to the subject. The results of this study will provide insights for nurse educators who teach Chinese student nurses.

Full Text:



Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.