Evaluation of Nursing Education Programs Offered at Gaza Nursing Colleges: Graduates' Perspective

Mysoon Abdul Aziz
ميسون ابو عزيز
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Al-Quds University
In spite of the several challenges facing nursing education in Gaza Strip, very little studies were done to evaluate these programs. While the need for evaluating nursing education is considered a continuous non-skeptical issue, this study was designed to evaluate these programs from new graduates' perception. Knowing graduates' perception nursing education program is very important because it builds on successful students outcome and analysis of graduates' feedback can map the strength and issues deemed important by students or graduates rather than program staff and administration. The design for this study was descriptive, correlative, cross sectional one. For the purpose of this study, the author developed a self-administered questionnaire to assess the graduates' perception. The instrument's construct and content validity were evaluated by several experts. The reliability test, using Cronbachs' alpha coefficient, was 0.9629. The sample of the study included all the graduates of the basic nursing programs offered by nursing colleges in Gaza Strip (bachelor and associate degree in both nursing and midwifery) who were graduated in the academic years of 2003 and 2004. The sample size was 374 graduates, and the response rate was 91.26%. Using SPSS for data analysis, Factor analysis extracted seven components that identified the graduate's perception. These factors included: teachers-students relationship, curricular nature, overall satisfaction, facilities accessibility, teachers' competencies, and theory-practice gap and admission criteria. The results expressed that the highest level of perception was associated with the teachers-students relationship, while the lowest one was associated with theory-practice gap. The findings showed some statistical differences among graduates' perceptions in terms of gender, living areas, place of graduation, scientific degree and graduation year. Although males were more satisfied with most of the dimensions and the overall factor, females expressed more positive perception toward teachers-students relationship. Generally, the graduates from different colleges had similar perceptions. Even, graduates of a certain college held better perception toward the relationships among teachers and students, curriculum, general satisfaction and the overall factor. While associate degree holders expressed lower positive perception toward teachers' competence with statistical significance, they were more satisfied regarding teachers-students relationships. Besides, graduates of the year 2004 had better perception regarding curriculum, admission criteria and were more satisfied. In addition, participants who work in hospitals reflected more appreciation of teachers' competencies and awareness of such a gap than those who work in other areas. Inconsistently with previous studies, participants who work in the Military Services were the most satisfied than others, while those who work in (United Nation Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) were slightly less satisfied. Although the results denied any significant statistical differences among graduates' perception regarding age and marital status facto, younger graduates were more satisfied than older graduates in most of the dimensions and the overall factor. Married respondents were less satisfied than singles regarding most of the components except teachers' competencies and theory-practice gap. The results also didn't reflect any effect of residency, year of graduation, work field, work area and experience period on the perception. The desire for postgraduate education was highly reported, and the graduates expressed several underlying factors. The most frequently reported factor was improving the social status followed by enhancement of financial status. Generally, the graduates' perspective was positive toward the programs. Even, great concern about clinical training inadequacy was reported and many graduates recommended the need for developing the faculty members. Finally some recommendations and comments on the programs, such as: admission criteria, availability of facilities, and reducing the fees of study, were reported by the graduates. In the light of analysis and interpretation of the data, the researcher made some recommendations for administrative bodies of nursing programs to improve the quality of these programs. One of the most important recommendations insisted the importance of continuing evaluation and modification of such programs, besides, the recommendation for teaching staff development and enhancement of clinical training.