Background The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the need for distance learning in nursing education. The necessary precautions have been taken in nursing schools involving the application of various restrictions, including the suspension of face-to-face classes and the closure of educational institutions, and this has had a profound effect on nursing educators and nursing students alike.
Objectives The study seeks to answer the following questions:
1) What are the characteristics of distance nursing education during the pandemic?
2) What are the nursing students' views on online education during the pandemic?
3) What difficulties have been experienced by nursing educators during the pandemic?
4) What are the views and suggestions of nursing educators in regards to nursing education during the pandemic?
Design descriptive, cross-sectional, multicentered and international study.
Settings An online survey was completed by 30 nursing educators working in establishments listed among the top 60 highest-ranked nursing schools in the world.
Participants nursing educators in undergraduate nursing programs.
Method An internet-based survey comprising open-ended and multiple choices questions was disseminated to 60 nursing schools on the 2020 QS World University Ranking list.
Results Survey responses were received from 30 nursing schools in 30 countries. Since the announcement of the pandemic, the structure of distance education in nursing has taken different forms from one country to another, and nursing educators and students alike have encountered a diversity of problems during this process. The findings of the present study reveal that 65% of the nursing educators thought that they had been caught unprepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, 44% thought that the nursing program outcomes had been achieved through distance education, and 48% encountered Internet-related problems.
Conclusion We believe that the present study will (i) aid in the decisions of nursing educators considering a transition to distance education, provide suggestions to those that have already made such a transition or inspire those seeking to improve the effectiveness of practice in obligatory cases, (ii) serve as a guide for educational institutions, and (iii) contribute to the taking of precautions to counter potential problems.
6. Strength and limitations
The current study has several limitations. The research data were limited to nursing educators/lecturers working in the nursing departments of 30 universities, and so the results cannot be generalized to all nursing educators around the world. To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate nursing education at an international level during the pandemic. The main strength of the study lies in its multicentered and international design.