Identifying reasoning skills for the selection of undergraduate nursing students: a focus group study

Jonna Vierula, Maija Hupli, Kirsi Talman, Elina Haavisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Reasoning is a cognitive skill crucial to making solid decisions. The assessment of reasoning skills in nursing student selection is studied scarcely. Aim: To identify which reasoning skills should be assessed when selecting undergraduate nursing applicants. Design: A qualitative descriptive design. Methods: Four focus group interviews (n = 25) were undertaken with nursing students (n = 16) and experts (n = 9). The Clinical Reasoning Model was used as a deductive framework for the main categories. Subcategories were formed inductively. Results: All eight steps of the clinical reasoning process were deductively identified including 15 subcategories and representing reasoning skills in the selection phase: Consider the situation, Collect cues and information, Process information, Identify the problem, Establish goals, Take action, Evaluate outcomes and Reflect on the process of action and new learning. The beginning of the clinical reasoning process was emphasised most. Conclusion: The assessment of applicants’ reasoning skills should focus on the information processing skills. Impact statement: This study identifies reasoning skills which should be considered in the assessment of nursing applicants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • focus group
  • reasoning
  • skills
  • student selection
  • undergraduate nursing students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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