Authors: Paul Glew, Kathleen Dixon, Jethro Marquez, Joan Lynch, Yenna Salamonson
This study explored the experiences and perceptions of students who engaged in a student literacy and language strategies (SLLS) program that was embedded in an undergraduate nursing program. The findings from the study contributed to the validation of the program as a model of academic support. To assess the experiences of the students from their engagement in the program, interviews were conducted with the students following completion of a core professional communication unit for nursing in which the SLLS program was embedded. The findings revealed a high level of student satisfaction with the support received in the program, and found that students most often sought support when encountering difficulties in using the academic literacy and language skills needed to complete assessment tasks. In particular, students who used English as an additional language (EAL) reported engaging in the support program in order to improve their English language skills involving grammar, sentence structure and written expression. In terms of student experience with the program, the most helpful support was gained through one-on-one and face-to-face interaction with Professional Communication Academic Literacy (PCAL) support staff and in workshops. Students typically preferred this mode of support over the online resources provided. Some students indicated that they achieved substantial improvements in their academic outcomes which they attributed to the support received through the program. Given the reported experiences of students who engaged in the SLLS program and their positive perspectives on the value and helpfulness the support strategies, further investigation is needed to assess the impacts of the program on the learning and academic outcomes of all students who take up support throughout the nursing program.
Keywords: academic literacy; English language; undergraduate nursing