Irish nursing students' changing levels of assertiveness during their pre-registration programme.Nurse Educ Today. 2004 Oct; 24(7):501-10.NE
Stress and bullying have been found to be common problems in a number of studies of Irish nursing and midwifery. Victims of bullying need high levels of assertiveness to enable them to withstand the stress of victimization. It was deemed important to measure nursing students' level of assertiveness prior to, and near completion of, their pre-registration education programme. Aim. To ascertain nursing students' perceived levels of assertiveness prior to, and nearing the completion of, their three-year pre-registration programme.
Ethical approval was given. The students commencing general nurse education programmes in two schools in Southern Ireland agreed to take part (n=72). A questionnaire adapted from a number of assertiveness scales, and tested for validity and reliability in this population, was used to collect data.
In general, students' reported assertiveness levels rose as they approached completion of their three-year education programme.
The resource constrained health service of the 21st century requires nurses who are assertive to meet the needs of its users. Nursing students' assertiveness skills could be augmented through concentrated efforts from nurse educationalists and clinicians to reduce the communication theory practice gap in nurse education today. To address the multi-dimensional nature of assertiveness, strategies to increase assertiveness should operate at the individual, interface and organisational level.
The students in this study reported an increase in levels of assertiveness as they approached completion of their three-year education programme. To function as effective, safe practitioners registered nurses need to be assertive, therefore education in assertiveness should be an integral part of their preparation. The precise composition and mode of delivery of this education requires exploration and evaluation.