Developing and evaluating effective bioscience learning activities for nursing students

Judith Salvage-Jones, Jessie Hamill, Michael Todorovic, Matthew J. Barton, Amy N.B. Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Effective engagement of nursing students in the study of biosciences remains a challenge for many tertiary institutes. In this study we attempted to implement and then evaluate a simple hands-on intervention, consisting of a series of hands-on games and puzzles, to increase nursing student engagement with core concepts and anatomical learning involved in clinical anatomy and physiology. The study used a quazi-experimental longitudinal before and after design, to explore the effect of a learning intervention on student performance. Set across three different campuses of the same University, it included 1320 first year undergraduate nursing students from 2013 to 2014 who were studying Anatomy and Physiology.Students were exposed to the interventions or not, and concomitant academic performance, weekly quiz scores, performance in fortnightly worksheets and, across the semester, exam performance were compared. The results show that while the intervention appeared to increase academic performance in students on one campus (2013) compared to the other two, this difference was not sustained into 2014 when a bigger cohort was examined. Despite significant subjective student satisfaction and enthusiasm about these learning and teaching interventions, the data does not support the capacity of these activities to enhance student academic performance. Tertiary entrance scores, being a non-native English speakers and socio-economic status all had a bigger impact on student performance than engagement with fun anatomy and physiology activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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