Journal of Social Sciences

Theory Practice Gaps in Nursing Education: A Qualitative Perspective

Ahmad Saifan, Mohannad Eid AbuRuz and Rami Masa'deh

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2015.20.29

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 1

Pages 20-29


The last three decades have focused on moving the nursing education from the hospitals toward the universities. The theoretical part has started to gain more popularity in nursing education. The literature shows that there is a clear gap between what is taught in the classroom and what the student nurses experience in the clinical area. This study aimed to identify the reasons for this gap and present suggestions to overcome it. An exploratory qualitative approach was adopted. Individual face-to-face semi-structured interviews with thirty students were done. The findings shed light on one main theme “the reasons for theory-practice gap”. Many of the students explained that the lack of qualifications of the clinical instructors formed a key stone in increasing the gap between theory and practice. Lack of communication between Theory and Practice teachers was viewed as another reason for this gap. The students showed the complexity of the clinical learning environment in comparison with the theory controlled environment. Poor communication between clinical instructors and lack of support in the clinical training was viewed crucial and was expected to increase the feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction among nursing students. In conclusion, qualitative design used in this study provided deep and rich data about the theory-practice gaps in nursing education in Jordan. The results of this study could be useful for the undergraduate students, the nursing schools, the nursing teachers and the stakeholders in Jordan.


© 2015 Ahmad Saifan, Mohannad Eid AbuRuz and Rami Masa'deh. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.