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ISRN Nursing
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 930901, 10 pages
Review Article

The Value of Peer Learning in Undergraduate Nursing Education: A Systematic Review

Monash University, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Berwick Campus, 100 Clyde Road, Berwick 3806, Australia

Received 23 December 2012; Accepted 9 February 2013

Academic Editors: L. H. Beebe and M. M. Funnell

Copyright © 2013 Robyn Stone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study examined various methods of peer learning and their effectiveness in undergraduate nursing education. Using a specifically developed search strategy, healthcare databases were systematically searched for peer-reviewed articles, with studies involving peer learning and students in undergraduate general nursing courses (in both clinical and theoretical settings) being included. The studies were published in English between 2001 and 2010. Both study selection and quality analysis were undertaken independently by two researchers using published guidelines and data was thematically analyzed to answer the research questions. Eighteen studies comprising various research methods were included. The variety of terms used for peer learning and variations between study designs and assessment measures affected the reliability of the study. The outcome measures showing improvement in either an objective effect or subjective assessment were considered a positive result with sixteen studies demonstrating positive aspects to peer learning including increased confidence, competence, and a decrease in anxiety. We conclude that peer learning is a rapidly developing aspect of nursing education which has been shown to develop students’ skills in communication, critical thinking, and self-confidence. Peer learning was shown to be as effective as the conventional classroom lecture method in teaching undergraduate nursing students.