Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


This descriptive, comparative study examined freshmen and sophomore student perceptions of faculty caring behaviors in an associate degree nursing program. The literature review reflected sparse research studies or student perceptions of caring. The purpose of this investigation was to examine perceptions of nursing students of the caring behaviors they experienced with faculty. Watson's theory of human caring (1985) formed the foundation for the investigation. Watson's theory combines a humanistic value system with a scientific knowledge base to implement the science of caring. Watson identifies seven assumptions of caring and ten carative factors as the conceptualization of her theory. Noddings' (1984) four components of a moral education fit well with Watson's theory in this investigation. The Organizational Climate for Caring Questionnaire developed by Hughes (1992) was used to measure the student perceived climate for caring experienced in student-faculty interactions. Scott’s Demographic Inquiry was used to collect information about the students enrolled in the nursing program. The data collected included age, gender, marital status, number of children and previous experience in the health care field. Data were collected from students enrolled in an associate degree nursing program at the community college level in a Midwestern state. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the scores for each group and a t-test was performed to determine whether or not there was statistical significance between the groups. The freshmen students (n = 25) scored slightly higher (M = 4.45. SD = .70) than the sophomores (n = 25) who scored (M = 4.38, SD = .61), t (48) = .734. The results of the investigation indicated some individual differences between freshmen and sophomore students on perceptions of caring behaviors; however, the results of a t-test revealed no significant difference in the perceptions of the groups. The recommendations that have evolved as a result of this investigation include: 1. Continued investigation with future classes. 2. Include other associate degree programs in future research. The larger sample would allow for investigation into the impact of culture and ethnicity on perceptions of caring. 3. Investigate the implications of marital status on perceptions of caring. 4. Investigate the impact students being a parent may have on perceptions of caring. 5. Investigate the differences between baccalaureate students and associate degree students to determine whether perceptions change significantly over a longer period of time. 6. Continue to use Watson's theory of human caring and Noddings' theory of a moral education as the foundation for future research. 7. Investigate the implications of students' gender on perceptions of caring.


Mary R. Hassett

Date of Award

Fall 1998

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1998 Sondra Scott


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