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Teaching assertiveness to undergraduate nursing students

by Catherine Mc Cabe, Fiona Timmins
Nurse Education in Practice ()
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Assertiveness is an important behaviour for today's professional nurse. As nurses move away from traditional subservient roles and perceived stereotypes it is increasingly being recognised that a nurse needs to behave in an assertive manner. Assertiveness is necessary for effective nurse/patient communication, and it is suggested that its development may also aid the confidence of the profession as it develops. Assertive behaviour may be encouraged through educational methods. It is preferable that nurses receive this educational preparation during undergraduate programmes. Nurse educators have an important role in the development and implementation of assertiveness training/education programmes for undergraduate nursing students. Little empirical evidence exists to support teaching in this area, however role-play is a concept that is suggested for the experiential teaching of communication/interpersonal skills in general. Using role-play as a central focus, and available literature on the topic, a 3-hour assertiveness workshop is devised for undergraduate nursing students. This paper describes this workshop from the teacher's perspective and outlines student responses. The experience is both positive and enlightening. Nurse educators have an important role to play in the development of education programmes of this kind. The sharing of this experience allows educators to examine current practice and presents pathways for future empirical studies in this area. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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