Greener Journal of Education and Training Studies

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Greener Journal of Education and Training Studies Vol. 3 (1), pp. 009-018, March 2015.

  ISSN: 2354-225X 

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 012315017



The Extent to Which the Practical Skills Component is Fulfilled Through the Conduct of the Bsc Nursing Science Degree by Distance Education : A Case for the Zimbabwe Open University


Miriam Chitura

Senior Lecturer Health Sciences: Zimbabwe Open University

Email: miriamchitura @yahoo. com 




Distance Education in Nursing Science is new to Zimbabwe. The big question about distance learning in nursing concerns the distance education mode’s ability to fulfill the practical component. Technology removes the geographical barriers that limit access to higher education.




A cross sectional descriptive survey was conducted. The aim was to understanding how the practical component for the ZOU Bachelor of Science in Nursing Science Programme was fulfilled. Data was collected from students and supervisors.




Response rate was 100% for both students and lecturers. The age range for lecturers was 36 to 65 years and that of students was 26 to 55 years. Eight (50%) of the lecturers had more than five years experience. Respondents stressed the need for hands on experience. Students accessibility to computers was low, with 5 (20%) having personal computers. Challenges included inadequate resources. Strengths and weaknesses were highlighted.  However, fifteen students indicated that they were happy with the ZOU BSc. Nursing Science programme.




ZOU strives to fulfill the practical skills component through a variety of approaches. Reports are submitted at the end of the stipulated internship period. Whilst technology could be used to reach out to more students, the nature of the nursing profession requires that students have hands on experience. Other critical clinical competences are accomplished when students are on the diploma programme. 




The recommendations hinge on recruitment, supervision and evaluation of students’ experiences.




The conduct of practicals for nurses on a Distance Education Programme is possible. Use of technology can be complementary to the hands on experience.


Keywords: Distance Education, Nursing Science, Zimbabwe.


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Watson , R. (2002).  The role of practical walk.  In M. Monk and J. Osborne (Eds).  Good practice in Science Teaching:  ‘What research has to say’, Buckingham, Philadelphia, Open University Press: pp57-71.

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