Facilitating problem-based learning among undergraduate nursing students: A qualitative systematic review

Jacqueline Wosinski, Anne E. Belcher, Yvan Dürrenberger, Anne Claude Allin, Coraline Stormacq, Linda Gerson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives The purpose of this study was to identify and synthesize the best available evidence on the perspective of undergraduate nursing students on facilitating elements that contribute to their success with PBL. Design a qualitative systematic review of the literature according to meta-aggregative methodology using the JBI SUMARI system was conducted. Data sources Data was collected across CINAHL, Medline, Embase, Eric, Teacher Reference Center and reference lists. Research methods Out of 378 articles, 101 were retrieved for examination and eight were retained after methodological analysis. Results 51 findings, matched with a verbatim, were extracted and aggregated in five categories: 1) in PBL, the nursing tutor models clinical reasoning and leadership skills; 2) the quality of group interactions is critical to the success of nursing students with PBL; 3) nursing students go through the process of learning with PBL; 4) through PBL, nursing students acquire skills that foster clinical reasoning; and 5) when the PBL method is used as intended, nursing students understand its purpose and process. These categories were aggregated in two syntheses worded as recommendation for practice. Conclusions The synthesized recommendations are: 1) tutors should be trained to effectively guide the team work of undergraduate nursing students along the PBL process in order for them to achieve its goal; and 2) nursing students should be securely introduced to PBL and experience the development of their clinical reasoning through PBL. Future research should focus on the strategies undergraduate nursing students use to succeed with PBL and the effectiveness of PBL in enhancing critical thinking and collaboration skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Problem-based learning
  • clinical reasoning
  • learning skills
  • nursing students
  • tutoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


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