Wilson, Vicki

Committee Member

Merrill, Alison

Committee Member

Bernheisel, Susan

Committee Member

Houser, Janet




University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





187 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Nurse educators have an important responsibility to prepare students for safe nursing practice. The National League for Nursing advocates the use of innovative, active learning strategies in the educational environment that offer meaningful learning opportunities for students. However, controversy exists related to the effectiveness of the traditional nursing care plan in promoting the development of meaningful learning, and clinical judgment in students. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine if there was a significant difference in meaningful learning development between baccalaureate nursing students who plan nursing care using a traditional nursing care plan compared to those who plan care using a concept map care plan. The revised two-factor Study Process Questionnaire that measures the deep approach or meaningful learning, and the surface approach or rote learning was administered in a pre-test/post-test design. The control group participants used a traditional nursing care plan, and the treatment group participants used a concept map care plan in the clinical setting with both groups completing four of the assigned care plans during the quarter. Findings revealed that both care plan groups primarily used the deep approach to learning that demonstrated an intention to understand and achieve competency of the information. The concept map care plan group scores for meaningful learning increased, and the traditional nursing care plan group scores for meaningful learning decreased. Secondarily, both groups used a surface approach to learning that demonstrated the intention of memorizing essential, targeted information for the purpose of reproducing the information, for instance, on an examination. Both groups' surface approach scores increased, demonstrating more of an intention to do only what was minimally required by the end of the quarter. There was a statistically significant difference between groups related to the effectiveness of the care plan preparation, level of satisfaction with the care plan process, and recommendation for use in the future. The data support the importance of ensuring effective preparation for the care plan method being used. Data in this study provided insufficient evidence regarding whether the traditional nursing care plan or concept map care plan contributed more to the development of meaningful learning.

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