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Problem-based learning in nurse education
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  1. Kirsteen Lang,
  2. Ben Parkinson
  1. Nursing and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Kirsteen Lang, Nursing and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK; kirsteen.lang{at}gcu.ac.uk

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Background and purpose

  • This is a summary of Sharma et al’s study.1

  • Problem-based learning (PBL) is a common learning strategy used in nurse education.

  • During PBL, student nurses solve clinical scenarios and practice-based problems.

  • Previous systematic reviews indicate PBL improves student nurse critical thinking, but the existing reviews are becoming dated and need updating with the latest research.

  • The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to use the latest research to determine the effectiveness of PBL for student learning in nurse education.

Methods

Results and areas for future research

  • The review includes 16 studies (published 2001–2021) and 1143 student nurses.

  • Studies were quasi-experimental (n=10) and randomised controlled trials (n=6).

  • PBL was delivered weekly (10–120 min) over several weeks (3–32 weeks).

  • Control groups received traditional learning (n=7), lectures (n=6), demonstration (n=1), clinical learning (n=1) or no intervention (n=1).

  • Studies were based in Iran (n=7), South Korea (n=5), China (n=3) and Taiwan (n=1).

  • Outcome data included critical thinking (n=8 studies), problem-solving (n=3 studies) and self-confidence (n=3 studies).

  • PBL improved student nurse critical thinking, analysis and evaluation more than other learning strategies.

Take home messages

  • The systematic review and meta-analysis provides an important addition to the literature on PBL within nurse education.

  • PBL can improve critical thinking skills, analysis and evaluation by student nurses and may be more effective than traditional learning strategies.

  • The value of PBL for improving student nurse problem-solving and self-confidence is less clear and needs further exploration.

  • Limitations in the review include the small number of countries involved, the focus on certain learning outcomes and the limited information about how PBL was delivered.

  • More research is needed to fully understand the value of PBL in nurse education.

Ethics approval

Not applicable.

Reference

Footnotes

  • Twitter @ParkinsonBen1

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.