Congratulations to Nursing instructor, Kim Mitchell, on receiving the Bravo Award for Research Excellence!
The Research Excellence award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in support of applied research, contributed to establishing an environment that welcomes research, supports others in their research endeavours, and or made an outstanding contribution to a course/project/program/community partner. This award recognizes Kim’s contribution not only to nursing research but to a culture of research within the Nursing Department.
In addition to being a career nurse educator, Kim’s focus of study is a topic applicable to nursing education – exploring writing self-efficacy and its impact on writing performance in undergraduate nursing students. Writing self-efficacy is a concept that has been demonstrated to predict student grades and is thought to be a more powerful predictor of student performance than writing ability. Writing assignments are thought to contribute to student knowledge and critical thinking skills, which has the potential to positively affect student ability to communicate within multidisciplinary teams using the language of evidenced informed practice. Additionally, writing assignments are thought to benefit student ability to integrate theoretical knowledge within their clinical experiences; however, there has been little empirical testing to explore this hypothesis within the discipline of nursing.
Kim’s interest in exploring writing self-efficacy in nursing students began in 2011 when she initiated a pilot study to assess the effectiveness of the discipline specific scholarly writing course that she developed for the RRC nursing baccalaureate program. The study was a pretest posttest design study, which measured writing self-efficacy and anxiety in first year students before and after their first-year scholarly writing course. The description of this study and the course content it investigates has been accepted and will be published in the journal Quality Advancements in Nursing Education for spring 2017.
In 2013, she repeated this initial study and expanded the original one group quasi-experimental design to include a time control period. A comparison between online and classroom writing instruction experiences was also assessed. A portion of this cohort of students also participated in a long-term follow up study in the 2015-2016 academic year and that project is currently in data analysis. With a team of colleagues, Kim has also conducted an in-depth analysis of existing writing self-efficacy tools published in the literature in order to understand the conceptual constructs used to measure writing self-efficacy. This project has been accepted by the Journal of Nursing Measurement to be published along with an editorial on the subject in or around August 2017.
It became evident, after four research projects in this area, that doctoral education was the next step in the advancement of Kim’s research knowledge and skills. She applied and was accepted to the doctor of nursing program at the University of Manitoba for the fall of 2016. She is currently completing coursework toward this goal. The writing self-efficacy tool used to measure the concept in her three previous studies was one of her own creation and was designed to measure aspects of writing self-efficacy specific to the scholarly writing course she was delivering. As a result, her goal in the doctoral program is to redevelop and test this scale for more general use within nursing education. One of her first doctoral assignments exploring academic writing voice from the perspectives of objectivity and feminism has been accepted for publication in Nursing Inquiry.