Is the introduction of a student-centred, problem based curriculum associated with improvement in student nurse well-being and performance? An Observational study of effect

Martyn C Jones, Derek Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To explore the impact of curriculum redesign and innovation on student well-being and performance, including essay and examination marks and sickness absence.

Background: While the emotional impact of preparing to be a health professional can be reduced by helping students to adapt, the positive effect of curriculum innovation and redesign is rarely evaluated.

Design, sample and methods: Student nurse well-being and performance was compared at weeks 24/25 and 40/50 following course entry between comparable independent cohorts of students undertaking a traditional programme (N = 406, 83% return rate) with those on an innovative, student-centred, problem-based educational programme (N = 447, 79% return rate). The setting was a School of Nursing and Midwifery in the North-East of Scotland. Measures included stress and mental health outcomes and measures of performance including academic marks and sickness absence.

Results: At week 25 into the course students on the innovative course had fewer academic, clinical and personal worries than students in the previous more traditional programme and were more likely to report using adaptive direct, problem-solving coping at week 50. While students on the innovative course reported less distress in their first year of the course, they scored less well on comparable essay assignments and had reliably greater sickness absence totals than those educated by traditional methods.

Conclusion: In this setting, curriculum innovation was associated with positive changes in student well-being but not on performance. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-952
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Absenteeism
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Models, Educational
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Problem Solving
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Program Evaluation
  • Questionnaires
  • Scotland
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Students, Nursing

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