To read this content please select one of the options below:

Mental health student nurses’ satisfaction with problem-based learning: a qualitative study

Gerwyn Huw Jones (School of Healthcare Sciences, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate undergraduate pre-registration mental health nurse’s satisfaction with problem-based learning (PBL), in light of the dearth of such studies and to influence future teaching and learning strategies within Cardiff University.


Totally, 16 students from three cohorts were interviewed in two focus groups. Data analysis was consistent with Seidel and Kelle (1995) which involved noticing relevant phenomena, collecting examples of these phenomena and subsequently analysing these to find commonalities, differences, patterns and structures.


Student experiences were categorised in five themes indicating that they perceived PBL as a novel, flexible approach to adult learning, which fostered decision making and critical thinking. Student engagement with the process was heavily influenced by the contribution of the end product to their degree classification. They also expressed concerns about working in groups and whether the depth of learning was comparable with traditional methods. However, they presented well-considered recommendations for future practice to address the perceived deficits of PBL.

Research limitations/implications

This was a small scale study undertaken in one institution. As such the views expressed by students relate to the approach to PBL used in this institution.


This study adds to the body of research relating to the application of PBL in mental health nurse education. Well considered, student generated recommendations are presented which can enhance student motivation, engagement and learning. These are arguably of value to other educationists interested in this approach to teaching and learning.



Conflict of interest: there are no conflicts of interest, this study was unfunded.


Jones, G.H. (2017), "Mental health student nurses’ satisfaction with problem-based learning: a qualitative study", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 77-89.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles