RN-BSN, clinical conference, research


RN-BSN students enrolled in a clinical course often have limited or no interaction with other students within the course due to geographic distance and individual preceptor assignments. Learning is often restricted to a student and his/her preceptor and instructor. Geographic and physical distance factors inhibit a student's perception of connectedness and learning. Interdependent interaction between peers, the instructor, and the professional community may increase student achievements and enhance a sense of connectedness. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of an Interdependent Conferencing Activity (ICA) in an online clinical conference on RN-BSN students' Psychological Sense of Community (PSOC). Students' perception of learning and connectedness are the secondary outcome measurements for PSOC. The ICA was developed to promote interdependence and interaction to enhance PSOC. The research supports the hypothesis that implementation of an ICA will increase PSOC in RN-BSN students in the intervention group when compared to the control and comparison group in an online clinical conference. An experimental, pre-test, post-test research study was conducted to test the hypothesis that implementation of an ICA will increase PSOC in RN-BSN students in the intervention group when compared to the control and comparison group in an online clinical conference. RN-BSN students enrolled in their clinical practicum course (two sections over two semesters) were recruited to participate at the beginning of the course. Each of the sections had a web component. Those who consented to participate were randomly assigned to one of three groups: control, comparison, or intervention. The control group responded to focused questions; the comparison group answered questions related to the application of knowledge gained within their practicum experiences; and the intervention group responded to inquiry about the same theoretical concept from the perspective of their total professional experience, citing examples to support or change evidence-based practice. The Classroom Community Scale (CCS) developed by Rovai (2002c) for use in online course assessment was administered at the beginning and end of the course to measure PSOC and its subscales of learning and connectedness. A total of 67 students participated (control n = 20, comparison n = 22, intervention n = 25). The majority of subjects were female (91%) and Caucasian (83.6%). Their average age was 31.4 years and they had an average of 6.4 years of experience as an RN. With the exceptions of years of experience, demographic characteristics were similar for each group. There was a significant difference for PSOC among the groups (RMANOVA; p = >.001). Post hoc analyses indicated a significant difference in the total PSOC and the subscales of Connectedness and Learning between the experimental group and both the control and comparison groups. Implementation of an ICA enhanced PSOC in an online RN-BSN online conference. The development and implementation of the intervention supported the research hypothesis, the 21st Century educational factors, and the use of experiential learning in the profession of nursing. This research addressed two critical gaps in literature: a paucity of research available on clinical conferencing in nursing, and clinical conferencing within the RN-BSN population. The ICA is an action that could easily be implemented in online conferencing.


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Graduation Date



Sole, Mary Lou


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Nursing



Degree Program









Release Date

April 2011

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Nursing Commons