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NURSES’ PERCEPTION OF THEORY-PRACTICE GAP AT ALEX EKWUEME FEDERAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL ABAKALIKI: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
*Chukwu Stella Nchekwubedi, Ezeruigbo C.F.S. and Ibeneme G.
Nursing education which has both theoretical and practical elements is aimed at producing skilled and competent professional practitioners who are able to apply the theoretical knowledge and skills learned in practice at the completion of their academic program. But the gap between theoretical knowledge and practice has continued to be a prevailing problem in nursing. The main aim of the study was to explore the perception of Nurses on the theory-practice gap in Nursing practice using qualitative approach. The study was done at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AEFUTHA). A purposive sampling technique was used to recruit and invite participants for a focused group discussion. 20 Nurses participated in the FDG. Analysis of data was done using thematic coding analysis (Colaizzi method). Four themes were generated from the responses to include: (a) Deficient practical know-how to apply sound theory, (b) TRASI Gap factors: Trainer related factors, Students’-related gap factors and Institutional factors,(c) Motivation and (d) Evidence-based Nursing: (i) Research (ii) Justification of nursing actions (iii) Bracing competence. Regarding the views about theories, it was agreed that classroom learning were adequate but then some of the issues identified to be contributing to the gap include poor clinical skills despite good theoretical knowledge, resistance to reform and learning without indispensable tools. Several reasons described as ‘TRASI gap factors’ were indicated for the presence of the gap. On the possible ways of bridging the gap, motivation of teachers/ clinical instructors by provision of learning tools, understanding the nurse responsibilities by acquainting self with documents that define service/ responsibilities, research, justification of nursing actions, bracing competencies, supervision of student nurses during clinical postings, constructive criticism of the students, review of employment criteria in employing nurse educators and ultimately evidenced based nursing were identified as some of the ways to overcome the theory- practice gap.[Full Text Article]