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Learning through work: an explorative study into nurses' on-the-job learning behavior

Ernst, Freya (2015) Learning through work: an explorative study into nurses' on-the-job learning behavior.

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Abstract:Lifelong learning is essential for nurses to provide quality patient care. Additionally, training and education is needed to be able to adjust to current societal changes, such as the cutbacks in health care and the ageing society. Learning on the job is thereby seen as a promising and more efficient alternative to formal training programs. Researchers are in agreement that the learning behavior of employees on their job, or in other words, their learning strategies, are influenced by both their individual learning styles as by the perceived learning situation (Berings et al., 2005; Honey & Mumford, 1986; Kolb, 1984). To support nurses, and integrate learning and work, a better understanding is needed how nurses learn on their job. The aim of this study was therefore to gain more insight into nurses‟ actual learning behavior at the job. To achieve this goal a mixed method approach was used to examine the interrelation between learning styles and the learning situation. As a result, this study is split into two parts. In the first study the effect of individual factors on nurses‟ learning styles was examined by means of a questionnaire. The second study used semi-structured interviews to reveal critical learning situations. Nurses from different hospitals in The Netherlands participated in the study, of which 234 nurses filled in the questionnaire and twenty took part in the interviews. The findings of the first study suggest that nurses‟ age, work experience and intrinsic motivation affect their personal learning styles. The in-depth interviews with nurses revealed four main on-the-job learning situations, namely 1. acute work situations, 2. new work situations, 3. recap work situations and 4. daily work situations. Furthermore, patterns in nurses‟ learning were found per situation, which provided a better understand how nurses learn in various situations at the workplace. In conclusion, these findings provided strong empirical results for the assumption that nurses‟ actual learning strategy is based upon both the perceived learning situation as well as on their learning style.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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