Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Skills Learning

A Phenomenological Study

Aldridge, Michael D., PhD, RN, CNE; Hummel, Faye, PhD, RN, CTN-A, ANEF

doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000569
Feature Articles

Background Deliberate practice (DP) and cognitive load theory have renewed educators’ interest in effective psychomotor skills teaching.

Purpose The purpose of this research was to explore how prelicensure nursing students learned psychomotor skills.

Methods Nine senior nursing students participated in this phenomenological study to capture how they experienced learning nursing skills. Colaizzi’s method was used to analyze in-depth interviews of open-ended questions.

Results Six themes emerged: (a) the umbrella of emotion, (b) practice, (c) learning through technology, (d) fidelity affects learning, (e) teaching matters, and (f) importance of peers. Students found creative ways to learn nursing skills. Research findings contributed to a greater understanding of student experiences in gaining competency in nursing skills.

Conclusions Participants used aspects of DP, cognitive load theory, and technology to learn skills. These findings provide current information to nurse educators about skills learning and recommendations for effective skills teaching.

Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor (Dr Aldridge) and Professor (Dr Hummel), School of Nursing, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Aldridge, Gunter Hall 3080, Campus Box 125, Greeley, CO 80639 (

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Accepted for publication: May 14, 2018

Published ahead of print: July 19, 2018

Cite this article as: Aldridge MD, Hummel F. Nursing students’ perceptions of skills learning: a phenomenological study. Nurse Educ. 2019;44(3):170-174. doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000569

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved