Instructional Materials for Nursing Education


Nursing is one of the core elements of the healthcare sector. The role played by nurses goes a long way in improving the quality of care provided to patients in hospitals and other medical establishments. As such, it is important to improve the quality of education provided to nurses during their training (Mandalios, 2013). Highly trained nurses enhance the quality of services provided by healthcare institutions.

In this paper, the author will analyze the general principles of instructional materials for nursing education. The instructional methods and models used at the author’s practicum site will be highlighted. Also, the author will analyze several articles touching on nursing education. Finally, a video on nursing and education will be reviewed.

Proper Selection of Materials in Nursing Education

Instructional materials are tangible substances and objects that avail audio and visual components needed to instruct and teach (Archer & Hughes, 2010). The materials help the educator to deconstruct and make sense of complex messages. As such, they are the tools used to communicate the information consumed by the learners (Boctor, 2013). The choice of the delivery system is influenced by the type of audience and the flexibility of the delivery system.

The process of selecting and developing the learning resources and materials in nursing education involves the review of the curriculum. The assessment can be carried out using the ‘pin down’ notes. The notes should include material budgeting and supply (Mandalios, 2013). The initial steps involve the identification of the learning targets, the goals of the resource, modes of application, and the possible medium. There are different types of instructional materials used in nursing education. They include handouts, leaflets, books, instructional sheets, demonstration materials, and audiovisual tools.

A Presentation of Instructional and Learning Models used at the Practicum Site

Instructional Models

At the practicum site, the common methods related to the behavior and other social attributes of the stakeholders. There was also information processing with the help of behavioral systems. Examples of instructional models used are inductive, concept-attainment, social interaction, and integrative methods. The ‘constructivist’ was an added model (Boctor, 2013). Instructional models used during the practicum fall into three different categories. The clusters include research, utilization, and development (Archer & Hughes, 2010). Most of the models have been tested and refined in the nursing field.

Instructional Methods

The instructional methods used at the practicum site were either teacher-centered or student-focused. In the former approach, the teacher delivered the information and directed the learning process. In the student-centered approach, the teacher acted as a facilitator. The nursing students were allowed to construct their understanding (Archer & Hughes, 2010). However, none of the methods is better than the other. Some learning objectives are effectively met using teacher-focused approaches, while others are adequately addressed when the student-focused approach is used. It is one of the reasons why the two methods were combined during the practicum.

Learning Methods

Most of the methods used were visual, physical, aural, verbal, logical, social, and solitary. Regardless of which method is used, learning is dependent on what is being taught. During the practicum, some topics were effectively understood using specific learning styles (Mennenga, 2013). Combining different styles solidifies the learning process.

The table below highlights the instructional model, instructional method, and learning method used:

Table 1

Instructional and learning methods

Methods and Models Remarks
  1. Instructional Model: Social Interaction Model.
Here, the learners work in unison to achieve common goals, enhance involvement, avail opportunities for leadership and improve decision making experiences. The model takes various forms. They include group work, cooperative learning, and discussions. The model is effective for nurses in practicum given that they work as a team (Boctor, 2013).
  1. Instruction method: Student-centered.
The teacher acts as a facilitator, while the students construct their learning and understanding. It entails cooperative learning or case studies (Boctor, 2013). The method applies to practicum nurses given that it brings together groups of learners.
  1. Learning Method: Physical.
Students learn by using physical objects. Such objects include diagrams and role-playing. It is effective for practicum nurses given that it improves the development of technical skills (Mandalios, 2013).

Research and Unfolding Case Studies

In nursing research and education, case studies are used to analyze a contemporary phenomenon (Archer & Hughes, 2010). The investigation is carried out in a real-life situation. On its part, an unfolding nursing case study unfurls over time. It develops in an unpredictable manner (Archer & Hughes, 2010). The two case studies are similar given that they involve the study of a phenomenon in its natural setting. However, they are different given that in research case studies, the researcher may focus on a phenomenon that has already taken place or is currently in existence. However, in an unfolding case study, the nursing researcher follows the phenomenon as it evolves in real-time (Mennenga, 2013).

The major advantage of research case studies is that they give the nursing student some degree of freedom and control over the study. For example, the student can select the number of participants and make efforts to predict the outcomes. However, one major weakness is that the method is associated with reduced reliability of data. The reliability can be improved by using the appropriate sampling design (Boctor, 2013). The unfolding case study is advantageous given that the researcher has no control over the development of the phenomenon. As such, reliability is enhanced. However, a major weakness is that the situation is unpredictable. The nursing researcher can improve predictability by familiarizing themselves with similar case studies carried out in the past (Boctor, 2013).

Review of Articles

Boctor, L. (2013). Active learning strategies: The use of a game to reinforce learning in nursing education: A case study. Nurse Education in Practice, 13(2), 96-100.

The case study demonstrates the importance of active learning strategy through the use of the jeopardy-style game. The game is used to improve the effectiveness of nursing materials to help students prepare for their final examinations (Boctor, 2013). The researcher found that the participants found the approach enjoyable and useful in learning.

Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470-478

The research focuses on the difficulties faced by students when evaluating electronic sources. Mandalios (2013) suggests the use of the RADAR approach. The students need to create ‘a mental radar’ to help them explore the vast information available on the internet. Mandalios (2013) recommends the establishment and adoption of the ‘Relevance’ of the materials, their ‘Authority’, ‘Date’, ‘Appearance’, and ‘Reason’ for the development of each source.

Mennenga, H. (2013). Student engagement and examination performance in a team-based learning course. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(8), 475-479.

The purpose of this research was to compare the team-based learning and the lecture teaching methodology in the context of student engagement and pedagogy outcomes. Mennenga (2013) found significant differences both in the engagement and examination outcomes. The conclusion was that the team-based learning and instructional method is as effective as the lecture method.

West, C., Usher, K., & Delaney, L. (2012). Unfolding case studies in pre-registration nursing education: Lessons learned. Nurse Education Today, 32(5), 576-580.

The article advocates for the use of nursing instructional approaches that emphasize active student interaction, critical thinking, and decision making. The elements help the nursing students to improve their competence and confidence in clinical practice (West, Usher, & Delaney, 2012). West et al. (2012) conclude that the unfolding case study encourages interactive learning. Also, it helps nursing students acquire skills that enhance their clinical judgment, leading to the development of competent practitioners.

Pathways to Safer Opioid Use: Analyzing the Video Podcast

In the video, the character assuming the role of a nurse is confronted with various charges in the hospital (Pathways to safer opioid use, 2014). The pain nurse has left and the new practitioner is promoted to take their place. However, the new nurse seems not to be prepared for the job. Things could have been done differently if the nurse was gradually taken through the process to help her absorb the information in a systematic manner (Pathways to safer opioid use, 2014). Such promotions can be used in nursing education to fill voids left by people who move out of the profession. However, a major challenge is that the new nurse may take time before adjusting to the changes (West et al., 2012).

In the video podcast, the physician has problems keeping time. The pharmacist seems overwhelmed by work. She has to deal with prescriptions and patients as part of the monitoring system. The practice can be useful in inter-professional education. It may also improve learning styles given that the nurse acquires skills from different sectors. However, the pharmacist should have been taught how to deal with the unfolding scenario (Pathways to safer opioid use, 2014). The patient who cannot sleep because of pain should get professional help. Home-based care should be considered if emergency room treatment is not available.


The quality of education received by nurses has an impact on the care they provide to patients. Besides, quality education helps the practitioners to effectively operate in a multidisciplinary environment. There are different learning and instructional models and methods that can be used in nursing education. The use of the right strategies improves the quality of nursing education.


Archer, A. & Hughes, C. (2010). Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching, New York: The Guilford Press.

Boctor, L. (2013). Active learning strategies: The use of a game to reinforce learning in nursing education: A case study. Nurse Education in Practice, 13(2), 96-100.

Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470-478.

Mennenga, H. (2013). Student engagement and examination performance in a term-based learning course. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(8), 475-479.

Pathways to safer opioid use. (2014). [Video podcast]. Web.

West, C., Usher, K., & Delaney, L. (2012). Unfolding case studies in pre-registration nursing education: Lessons learned. Nurse Education Today, 32(5), 576-580.

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