Unfolding case studies: Discovery of ways to stimulate students’ deeper learning

Document Type


Document Subtype


Presentation Date

Spring 3-30-2017

Conference Name

Xi Nu Sigma Theta Tau

Conference Location


Peer Review





The Future of Nursing Report (2010), and National League for Nursing (NLN) (2011) reveal an expectation that nursing programs integrate strategies for academic progression from beginner to advanced nursing. Improving nursing curricula rely on integrating teaching and learning principles that reflect a student-centered approach supported by evidence (Ironside & Hayden-Miles, 2012). An idea to facilitate students to “think like a nurse” as described by Tanner (2006), is to provide deeper learning experiences for students by transforming students’ reflections about their clinical and simulation experiences into unfolding case studies that can be used in the classroom.


The purpose of this research project is to determine ways to integrate unfolding case scenarios that reflect students’ clinical and simulation experiences throughout the nursing curriculum.


Unfolding case studies that evolve in complexity from beginner to advanced expertise in nursing courses include an actual patient situation leveled in complexity from beginning to advanced content. The patient situations are video recorded and guiding questions are provided in class to stimulate students’ small group discussions about the patient situations. Students who attend each clinical class and view the video and participate in the discussion of the unfolding case study will be invited to participate in focus group sessions to share their perceptions of growth and learning related to the case study content. The focus group sessions will be audio recorded for approximately 60 minutes. Field notes will be recorded to add clarity and insight to communication shared by the students. This study captures a new holistic inter-professional approach to end of life care where an Advanced Care Planning team is included in one of the higher level course case study scenarios. Triangulation using test question analyses for this study is intended to validate if there will be students' deeper understanding of the complexity the patient’s situation. Test questions related to content in the case studies will be taken from the comprehensive exam for each of the clinical courses. The comprehensive exam test questions reveal validity and reliability according to a test item analysis report.

Results and Conclusions

The unfolding case studies implementation and data collection are in process this spring semester. The focus groups will provide interaction that not only will include the students' actual words, but also non-verbal communication that may enhance exchanging of perceptions. Test question results will reveal students' knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis of the content.


Unfolding case studies, student reflection, focus group interviews, innovative teaching methods


Nursing | Other Nursing

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