Ethical experiential learning in medical, nursing and allied health education: A narrative review

Sandra Grace, Ev Innes, Narelle Patton, Lynette Stockhausen

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Students enrolled in medical, nursing and health science programs often participate in experiential learning in their practical classes. Experiential learning includes peer physical examination and peer-assisted learning where students practise clinical skills on each other.
    Objectives: To identify effective strategies that enable ethical experiential learning for health students during practical classes.
    Design: A narrative review of the literature.
    Data Sources: Pubmed, Cinahl and Scopus databases were searched because they include most of the health education journals where relevant articles would be published.
    Review Methods: A data extraction framework was developed to extract information from the included papers. Data were entered into a fillable form in Google Docs. Findings from identified studies were extracted to a series of tables (e.g. strategies for fostering ethical conduct; facilitators and barriers to peer-assisted learning). Themes were identified from these findings through a process of line by line coding and organisation of codes into descriptive themes using a constant comparative method. Finally understandings and hypotheses of relevance to our research question were generated from the descriptive themes.
    Results: A total of 35 articles were retrieved that met the inclusion criteria. A total of 13 strategies for ethical experiential learning were identified and one evaluation was reported. The most frequently reported strategies were gaining written informed consent from students, providing information about the benefits of experiential learning and what to expect in practical classes, and facilitating discussions in class about potential issues. Contexts that facilitated participation in experiential learning included allowing students to choose their own groups, making participation voluntary, and providing adequate supervision, feedback and encouragement.
    Conclusion: A totalof13strategies for ethical experiential learning were identified in the literature. A formal process for written consent was evaluated as effective; the effectiveness of other strategies remains to be determined. A comprehensive framework that integrates all recommendations from the literature is needed to
    guide future research and practise of ethical experiential learning in health courses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-33
    Number of pages11
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Early online dateJan 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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