Technology, Educator Intention, and Relationships in Virtual Learning Spaces: A Qualitative Metasynthesis

J Nurs Educ. 2018 Apr 1;57(4):197-202. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20180322-02.


Background: A main concern that remains with the continued growth of online nursing education programs is the way educator and student relationships can be affected by new technologies. This interpretive study aims to gain an understanding of how technology influences the development of interpersonal relationships between the student and faculty in a virtual learning environment.

Method: Using an established structured approach to qualitative metasynthesis, a search was conducted using PubMed, EBSCO, CINAHL, Medline, ProQuest, Ovid Nursing databases, and Google Scholar, focused on caring and relational aspects of online nursing education.

Results: Technology alters communication, thereby positioning the intentionality of the educator at the heart of interpersonal relationship development in virtual learning spaces.

Conclusion: This interpretive synthesis of prior qualitative research supports the development of a framework for online nursing courses, the need for continuing education of nursing faculty, the value of caring intentions, and enhancement of the educator's technological proficiency. [J Nurs Educ. 2018;57(4):197-202.].

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing*
  • Educational Technology*
  • Empathy
  • Faculty, Nursing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Learning
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Virtual Reality*