Preregistration nursing students’ perspectives on the learning, teaching and application of bioscience knowledge within practice

Mark Molesworth*, Moira Lewitt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives
This paper aims to explore student nurses’ experiences of bioscience learning, teaching and application within the practice setting. It draws upon the social learning theory of communities of practice to consider the issues raised.

The teaching of bioscience within many nursing curricula has shifted from traditional to more integrated approaches. Student nurses recognise bioscience as a valuable component of their studies, but many find it challenging. The focus of previous research in this area has often focussed on bioscience learning in theoretical rather than practice settings.

A phenomenological study.

Data were collected via focus group or interview with a total of seven students across two campuses in a Scottish university. Participants were offered the opportunity to share their experiences at both the end of year one and year two of their studies. A thematic analysis was undertaken independently then jointly by the authors.

The findings suggest that although participants recognise the value of bioscience within practice settings, they found that opportunities for learning were often limited. Bioscience-related learning, teaching and application was perceived to have been given less legitimacy by the practice setting than other aspects of placement activity. To enhance bioscience approaches participants expressed a desire for more structured and integrated approaches within both practice and university along with further peer learning opportunities.

Students recognise that bioscience knowledge is important in relation to the provision of safe and effective care. They request greater structure and consistency in relation to the learning, teaching and application of this topic during their placements.

Relevance to clinical practice
Those with a stake in educating nurses within clinical settings may find the views of student nurses on the topic of bioscience learning useful when planning and facilitating placement experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-732
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Early online date27 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • bioscience, clinical learning, communities of practice, mentors, student nurses


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