Nursing

Right- and left-brain learners: Strategies to facilitate hemisphere learning

Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development (formerly The Staff Educator), July 1, 2009

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The right-brain learner processes information holistically, seeing the big picture or the answer first, not the details. When analyzing a problem, right-brain learners start with the major concept and work backward to find the details and formulate a conclusion. These learners will become impatient with the details of a problem unless they are able to “see” its conclusion or solution quickly.
For example, when confronted by a patient who is experiencing chest pain, nausea, and dyspnea, the right-brain learner may assume that the patient is having a heart attack, an assumption that may or may not be correct. This learner may overlook details (e.g., lab studies and history) and come to an inaccurate conclusion. Right-brain learners need help with gathering data and analysis skills to support their conclusions. They also need help maintaining schedules and adhering to time limits.

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