Collective learning within nursing clinical groups /
Kassam, Tamiza A.
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This qualitative study examined collective learning within nursing clinical groups. Specifically, it explored the influence of the individual on the group and the impact of the group on the individual. The study was organized using the concepts from Debbie Kilgore's theory of collective learning (1999). The sample consisted of 1 8 second-year university nursing students and 3 clinical instructors. Data were collected via individual interviews with each participant and researcher's observations during a group conference. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using key concepts from Kilgore's framework. Several interesting findings emerged. Overall, it appeared that individual components and group components contributed to the quality and quantity of collective learning that occurred in the groups. Individually, each person's past group experiences, personality, culture, and gender influenced how that individual acted in the group, their roles, and how much influence they had over group decisions. Moreover, the situation which seemed to cause the greatest sense of helplessness and loss of control was when one of their group members was breaking a norm. They were unable to deal with such situations constructively. Also, the amount of sense of worthiness (respect) and sense of agency (control) the member felt within the group had an impact on the person's role in group decisions. Finally, it seemed that students felt more connected with their peers within the clinical setting when they were close with them on a personal and social level. With respect to the group elements, it seemed that the instructors' values and way of being were instrumental in shaping the group's identity. In group 2, there were clear examples of group consciousness and the students' need to go along with the majority viewpoint, even when it was contrary to their own beliefs. Finally, the common goal of passing clinical and dealing with the fears of being in the clinical setting brought solidarity among the group members, and there seemed to be a high level of positive interdependence among them. From the discussion and analysis of the findings, recommendations were given on how to improve the learning within clinical groups.