Nursing Students’ Empowerment in Distance Education: Testing Kanter's Theory
Journal of Distance Education
This qualitative, explanatory study examined Post-RN baccalaureate nursing students’ experiences of empowerment with distance education and computer conferencing (CC) for fit with the constructs of Kanter’s (1977, 1993) Theory of Structural Power in Organizations. Seven post-RNs from Canadian distance education nursing programs were interviewed. Interview transcripts were examined using content analysis. Kanter’s theory was useful in describing empowerment structures in distance education courses. Feedback from instructors, access to library facilities, and support from employers and family are essential elements of an empowering educational experience. Students missed face-to-face contact. Two themes unrelated to Kanter’s theory—self-direction and determination to succeed—emerged. This study, based on a theoretical framework, will be of interest to educators and administrators of distance education programs.