Summary • Experience of training students of nursing in manual handling suggested that they did not practise the techniques they had been taught. A search of the literature revealed that there was indeed a theory‐practice gap. • The aim of the project was to answer three questions: do students know what they should be doing, do they do what they should be doing, and if not, why not. • A survey design was used, with questionnaires designed specifically for the study. Self report questionnaires were distributed to students of nursing (n = 148) on the adult branch in one higher education institution in England. One hundred and thirty‐nine completed questionnaires were returned. • Results showed that students' knowledge of whether particular techniques were ‘recommended’ was fair. They indicated however, that they were frequently unable to use recommended techniques in practice. The most frequent explanation given was the influence of other nurses. Results of this small study indicated that male students and younger students were more susceptible to socialization into poor ward practice than others. Other reasons for not using recommended techniques were unavailability of manual handling aids, lack of time and patient needs. • The complexity of relationships within the nursing team emerged, with students ever aware of the impression they were making with regard to their assessment of practice, and their need to be accepted as a member of the team. Changes to training are suggested, to help reduce the theory‐practice gap.
Journal of Clinical Nursing – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 2003
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