Perception And Participation Of Nurses In Continuing Education Programs
The study sought to examine the perception and participation of nurses in continuing education programs. A case study method comprising a randomly selected sample of twenty-nine (29) participants was adopted. Data that were collected using semi-structured questionnaires were presented in tabular form and then analysed using coding and theme development procedures. The findings were that nurses perceived continuing education as being important, were intrinsically motivated to improve their knowledge and health care practice but faced a shortage of both funding and study time. The study recommended that employers should create a continuing education fund and policies that support nurses’ continuing education. Higher education institutions were challenged to provide continuing education programmes tailor- made for the complex health needs, through degree programmes of shorter duration and lesser cost than was currently obtaining prevailing.
Table Of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background To The Study
- 1.2 Statement Of Problem
- 1.3 Objective Of The Study
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Research Hypotheses
- 1.6 Significance Of The Study
2.0 Literature Review
- 2.1 Literature Review
- 2.2 Continuing Professional Development In Nursing
- 2.3 Importance Of Continuing Formal Education For Nurses
- 2.4 Barriers To Continuing Formal Education
- 2.5 Theoretical Framework
- 2.6 Empirical Framework
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Research Setting
- 3.3 Target Population
- 3.4 Sampling Technique
- 3.5 Instrument For Data Collection
- 3.6 Method Of Data Analysis
4.0 Results And Discussion
- 4.1 Results
- 4.2 Discussion
5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation
- 5.1 Conclusion
- 5.2 Recommendations
1.1 Background To The Study
The World Health Organization World Health Report (WHO 2010) states that human resources are the most important of the health system’s resource inputs. The performance of health care systems ultimately depends on the knowledge, skills and motivation of the people responsible for delivering services. Education and training are key investment tools as old skills become obsolete with the advent of new technologies. The World Health Report places emphasis on the need for strategic planning with regard to continuing education for health care providers. As an example, where education and training for junior nurses functions poorly, or where senior staff lack adequate time and resources to update their knowledge and skills, future shortfalls can be expected.
Healthcare practices and patient care standards is one of the fields that is steadily evolving along with the changing demands of society (Viljoen et al. 2017). Nursing Informatics Special Interest Group consisting of nurse leaders from different countries like Finland, Norway, Portugal, New Zealand, USA and Korea at the congress held in 2006 has been able to examine health informatics trends with a focus on technology and healthcare to look forward in 2020. Their report presented in what ways emerging and future technologies can be utilized to provide healthcare services in the future. The technology developments included wireless monitoring, ubiquitous access to computer networks, lifelong electronic health records, wearable monitoring and treatment devices, and treatment-based genetics medicine. The authors have speculated that these emerging technologies do not have direct influence over the profession but might potentially be used for ubiquitous healthcare (u-health). Caring skills, nursing knowledge management, and skills to manage change and development will be the core requirements for nurses in future to channel advancing technology as well as deliver evidence-based healthcare. (Øyri et al 2017). Nursing is the important central component of healthcare service. Nurses form a largest part of multidisciplinary healthcare team who addresses a wide variety of patient´s need. Therefore, with the changing technology, healthcare professionals are committed to acquire new skills and attitude, update knowledge as well as be competent in the clinical procedure and judgment. These competences are developed through various continued professional development activities (Hariyati & Safril 2018).
Health care is constantly developing, progressing, evolving and advancing as the needs of the population change. Knowledge and techniques in health care are rapidly expanding and even the healthcare environment is becoming increasingly complex. Health care recipients trust health professionals to continually provide care that is safe, qualitative, efﬁcient, effective, timely and patient-centred. This point is emphasized by the Health & Care Professions Council HCPC (2010) which states that recipients of care trust health professionals to provide care that is safe, efﬁcient, effective, timely, patient-centred, and equitable. Therefore, a well-educated nursing workforce with current knowledge and skills is critical to the provision of quality nursing care. Although nursing education is driven by the need to provide qualitative care to clients and provides content to ensure this, it should be supported by continuing professional education aimed at ensuring the maintenance and improvement of the competencies already acquired. Continuing professional development (CPD) and continuing profes-sional education (CPE) have become popular terms among professional groups as tools for updating knowledge and skills (Xiao, 2006).Ensuring that professionals attain and maintain their competencies is at the core of continuing professional development (CPD). In nursing continuing professional education (CPE) is very important because it provides professionals with new theories and evidence of what does and does not work in their practice. It also ensures continuous improvement of their performance to deliver the best patient care with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes.
In Nigeria nurse education is carried in hospital-based Schools of Nursing for three years (leading to the award of registered nurse RN certiﬁcate) and in the Universities for ﬁve years, Baccalaureate programme (leading to the award of registered nurse RN and registered midwife RM certiﬁcates). After initial licensing, nurses are required to renew their licences every three years during which time they must have attended at least one continuing education programme. These programmes are often organized in large urban cities and nurses in rural settings and small towns have to travel far to attend. They have to pay for transport and accommodation for the duration of the programme. Therefore, despite the importance of CPE however, not many nurses/midwives in Nigeria avail themselves of the opportunity to attend such programmes unless they are organized in the health institutions in which they work or is done for free. The Nursing & Midwifery Council of Nigeria has introduced Mandatory Continuing Professional Development programmes (MCPDP) to update and maintain the professional knowledge, skills, abilities, competence of nurses and midwives; ensure clinical governance and enhance the provision of appropriate, relevant, high quality service to clients. To further ensure the mandatory aspect of CPE, the Council has also tied it to the renewal of licence to practise and nurses are expected to attend a minimum of ﬁve days learning activity every three years before re-licensure. This is similar to what is done in PREP UK. In Nigeria although the Ministry of Health, Department of Nursing Sciences in universities, the professional association, health institutions and other organizations and Non-Governmental organizations also organize CPE for nurses in an attempt to enhance the quality of practice, such programmes are often in the form of conferences, seminars, workshops, and clinical meetings. However, and some of these programmes are not structured, except those organized by the Nursing & Midwifery Council and the West African College of Nursing which are in the form of revision and update courses. These update programmes are not online so nurses have to physically attend the courses. CPE is also known as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or simply continuing education (CE). Although CPD is a broader concept, for the purpose of this paper, CPE, CPD and CE (continuing education) are used interchangeably.
1.2 Statement Of Problem
It is believed that continued professional development can aid in achieving lifelong learning therefore, it should be a voluntary continuous act that goes throughout life so that individual becomes responsible to themselves and their society (Laal 2012). The importance of lifelong learning has been found to safeguard continuous professional growth in specialty work areas for instance; emergency care, intensive care, palliative, or pediatrics. CPD benefits the patient care, organization and individual and it brings higher work satisfaction, job retention and lower stress. Therefore, nurses are inclined to participate in it. It seems that although healthcare professional are motivated to participate in continued training and education to facilitate their own development due to various existing barrier there seems low participation for CPD activities which would cause nurses’ burnout and quality of care can be compromised. Therefore, CPD should be apriority. Continued professional development for health professionals is gaining increasingly importance (Fleet 2010). However, it is not mandatory in countries such as Finland (European Federation of Nurses, 2012). Indeed, research shows that nurses are aware that their profession requires lifelong learning. Once more, they perceive the importance of evidence-based practice and express strong desires for continued learning (Price & Reichert 2017).
Although reviewed literature identiﬁes the importance of continuing professional education and professional development for nurses subsequent to initial registration (including enrolled nurses), there is however a lack of empirically based work analysing nurses’ perceptions of their continuing professional education needs and the perceived outcomes of continuing professional education (Barriballet al., 1992). The purpose of this paper is therefore to examine the perception and participation of nurses in continuing education programs.
1.3 Objective Of The Study
The main aim of this study is to assess the perception and participation of nurses in continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo state.
The specific objectives are as follows;
- To determine the nurses’ perceptions of the concept of continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital
- To determine the nurses’ perception of the role of continuing education in the nurses’ careers in University of Benin Teaching Hospital
- To determine the nurses’ perceptions of the factors that militate against participation in continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital
- To identify the interventions that nurses suggest on how to promote participation in continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the nurses’ perceptions of the concept of continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital?
- What is the nurses’ perception of the role of continuing education in the nurses’ careers in University of Benin Teaching Hospital?
- What are the factors that militate against participation in continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital?
- What are the interventions that nurses suggest on how to promote participation in continuing education programs in University of Benin Teaching Hospital?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
- HO1: There is no significant relationship between nurses’ perception of the role of continuing education programs and their participation in University of Benin Teaching Hospital
- HO2: There is no significant influence of factors that militate against participation on perception of nurses in University of Benin Teaching Hospital
1.6 Significance Of The Study
Continuous Professional Development cycle comprises of appraisal, planning, action, reflection or evaluation and documentation of learning activities. “A well-educated workforce is critical to the discovery and application of health care practices to prevent disease, promote well-being, and increase the quality of life”. Whereas numerous actions have been put in place to deal with organizational, environmental, governance and financial factors that influence health professionals’ performance, these efforts typically overlook the critical piece of improving quality; developing and maintaining a reliable, properly trained health professional workforce. By focusing on the formal learning, mentorship and implementation of Continuous Professional Development Cycle, this study bridged the gap that was identified. The findings of this study will be significant to nurses, health care professionals and the health sector as a whole. It will also guide policy decisions and implementation.
5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation
The research findings revealed that nurses understood continuing education to mean all the lifelong learning activities towards the development of nurses in Zimbabwe. They perceived continuing education to be a trajectory for personal development beyond the mandatory nurse training phase. The findings further revealed that the provision of quality nursing was a human rights issue and were entitled to quality health services, too. The findings also pointed to a plethora of barriers that are derailing the nurses’ pursuit of continuing education and career advancement. Employer restrictions on funding and study leave as well as the unavailability of suitable study programmes at higher education institutions, weighed heavily against nurses’ self- development. The following mitigatory measures were suggested:
- The creation of a continuing education fund for health professions by central government;
- Reforming continuing education policies so that paid study leave was available to employees;
- Access to a wider range of degree programmes at higher education institutions and
- For higher education institutions to innovate learning programmes that address the health needs of both and the larger community.
The study recommended that:
- Health institutions should support the continuing education of nurses by providing finance and time to enable nurses to constantly seek new knowledge and new competences
- Higher education institutions must fill the gap that exists for relevant nursing education programmes at a time when competent practitioners are required to deliver a cleaner health bill not only to Zimbabwe but globally.
- Nurse education institutions must embrace indigenous knowledge as part of curriculum reform in an age that recognizes indigenous knowledge systems.
- Further research that seeks to deepen our understand of perceptions of nurses on continuing education and support systems for this critical services sector.
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