Lucile Lewis


It was the purpose of this study to consider four phases of the nature of the learning experiences of students of nursing in the operating room. The phases of the problem studied were: (1) Are the learning experiences "new" or "an expansion and/or clarification of previous learnings?" (2) Do new learning experiences continue throughout the clinical assignment to the operating room? (3) Are the learning experiences concentrated in some areas of learning more than in others? (4) Is there a relationship between the area of learning and the type of duty performed by the student in the operating room?

Literature was reviewed to find out what areas of learning experiences for students of nursing in the operating room were defined by operating room nurses. These areas were grouped under seven headings: Microbiology; Physics; Chemistry; Team Concept; Nursing Care; Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology; Aseptic Technic. Two research tools were constructed around these seven areas of learning, a Checklist of Learning Experiences and a Test. Two groups of students in a college program in nursing were asked to fill out two check-lists each week of their operating room experience. Group I (8 students) returned 83 percent of their check-lists; Group II (15 students), 46 percent. The Test, given as a pre-test and a post-test to the same students included questions about learning experiences which the student might have had in the seven area of learning before her operating room experience.

The check-lists revealed that the students felt that over 56 percent of their learning experiences in the operating room were an "expansion and/or clarification of previous learning experiences." The test scores showed a highly significant difference between the post-test and the pre-test. Throughout their 12-week assignment to the operating room, the students reported 20 to 30 percent of their learning experiences as "new."

There was little correlation between the number of learning experiences recorded in each area of learning on the check-lists and the objective evidence of learning in those areas on the test. On the check-list, Group I reported the most learning experiences in the area of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology; Group II, in Aseptic Technic. On the test, Group I made significantly better scores in the areas of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology, and Microbiology; Group II in Chemistry, Microbiology, Team Concept and Nursing Care.

While performing work closely associated with the surgical procedure (scrubbing, circulating, observing) there was little evidence that one type of duty provided more learning experiences in any one area of learning than did either of the other types of duties.

LLU Discipline





Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Anabelle Mills

Second Advisor

Anne Martin

Third Advisor

R. Maureen Maxwell

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Nursing -- education; Operating Room Nursing



Page Count

v; 84

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives