Transposing Yallom: Recognizing and Understanding Group Dynamics in a Canadian Online Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing

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Given the historical association between psychiatric/mental health (P/MH) nursing education and group formats, and the recent shift to online education, one might expect to see a well developed literature that focuses on P/MH nurse education in online group settings; yet this is patently not the case. This paper attempts to redress this omission by drawing on educational material produced in a regional online diploma in psychiatric nursing. After reviewing the relevant extant literature, it adopts Yallom’s seminal work and transposes this into online group settings. Examples of postings drawn from this programme are then used to help recognize and understand online group dynamics.

The authors conclude that group dynamics are as much a part of online P/MH nurse education as they have been for ‘traditional’, face-to-face, educational programs, albeit manifest, expressed and encountered in different ways. Secondly, acknowledging the existence of these group dynamics creates the need for a new skill set, or maybe the transposition of an existing skill set for P/MH nursing educators. Thirdly, examination/analysis of student online postings (virtual case studies) enables the tentative epistemological transposition of face-to-face group dynamics into the online version.


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