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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Nursing

Supervisor

Ruta Valaitis

Co-Supervisor

Patricia Strachan

Language

English

Committee Member

Kevin Eva

Abstract

´╗┐Safe nursing care of patients with cardiovascular disease requires specialized knowledge and skill. However, education for such specialty practice has little empirical basis. Research has suggested that novices perceive primarily surface aspects of a domain while experts perceive primarily its deep principles. Insight into such perceptual differences may help inform future pedagogical strategies. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not such differences are found in the domain of cardiovascular nursing.

A forced choice triad task was developed to test the study hypothesis. Each triad trial consisted of a target item and two referent items. Referent items were designed to be similar to target items based on surface features (S) such as patient age or sex, deep features (D) such as the goal of therapy, or both surface and deep features (S/SD). Participants were asked to choose the referent item that they believed was more similar to the target item and to provide a rationale for their choice. The instrument was completed by n=17 nurses in two practice cohorts: a novice/less experienced cohort with less than three years of experience in cardiovascular nursing and an experienced/competent cohort of Nurse Practitioners with at least ten years of experience in the specialty.

Statistically non-significant differences in scores between study cohorts occurred in the hypothesized direction. However, due to the small final sample size, no definitive conclusions could be made based on this study's findings.

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