Health education and the pedagogical role of the nurse: Nursing students learning in the clinical setting

Kirsten Margrethe Halse, Marianne Fonn, Bjørg Christiansen


Background: Health education has been regarded as an important aspect of nursing for years. To be able to provide health education, nursing students need to know about the content of health education programs and the pedagogical role of the nurse.

Methods: For nursing students to acquire knowledge about the pedagogical role of the nurse, they carried out a learning assignment where they explored the pedagogical role of the nurse in the ward for one week of an eight-week clinical rotation. A study was then conducted to explore whether the learning assignment influenced the students’ awareness of the nurse’s pedagogical role. Twenty-three third-year bachelor of nursing students, 12 in 2007 and 11 in 2008, participated in focus group interviews.

Results: The findings showed that the students became more aware of nurses’ pedagogical role after the one week of exploring patient education with ward nurses. The students increased awareness was founded on their experiences, which were that the nurses seldom planned the health education and information given. Further that the nursing staff did not utilize planned educational materials for their patient education and that they seldom documented health education. Despite these finding, the patients were generally informed during caring interactions.

Conclusions: A learning assignment related to the nurses’ pedagogical role seemed to have increased the students’ critical awareness of the nurse’s pedagogical role and the legal demands related to the obligation of nurses to educate patients.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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