Undergraduate nursing student perceptions of directed self-guidance in a learning laboratory: An educational strategy to enhance confidence and workplace readiness Academic Article uri icon


  • A self-directed learning laboratory (SDL Lab) was established in which undergraduate nursing students were provided access to experienced nurses in a simulated ward environment to enhance preparedness for clinical practice. The aim of this study was to explore perspectives of final year, undergraduate student nurses about the SDL Lab and directed self-guidance, with particular focus on the impact on learning and preparedness for professional practice. The study was framed within a qualitative descriptive approach using semi-structured, digitally recorded face-to-face interviews. The purposive sample included undergraduate students enrolled in their final year of a Bachelor of Nursing program, who had accessed the SDL Lab on at least two occasions. Thematic analysis was used. Twelve students participated. Three main themes were identified: 1) A safe environment that fosters effective learning; 2) Directed self-guidance strengthens confidence and competence during workplace experiences; 3) Enhancing accessibility and realism will improve learning. Reports of increased confidence in performing nursing skills was found in this study. Evaluation of the SDL Lab found that this alternative teaching strategy was favourable, and students appreciated the safe learning environment. Future research might explore measurement of the effect of directed self-guidance in an SDL facility on competence and confidence.


  • Kerr, Debra
  • Ratcliff, Jennifer
  • Tabb, Lisa
  • Walter, Ruby

publication date

  • 2020