Nursing Education and Life Long Learning

Afza.Malik GDA

Life Long Learning In Nursing Education

Nursing Education and Life Long Learning

What Is Lifelong Learning,Implementation of Life Long Learning In Nursing Education,Outcomes of Life Long Learning In Nursing Education.

What Is Lifelong Learning

    Lifelong learning is: “A cradle to the grave involvement of the individual with his or her learning and working environment. “It implies a growth of all skills and a cumulative interweaving of knowledge and experience” (Benedict, Collier, Masar, & Wilkinson, 1984, p. 25). In nursing, a current definition of lifelong learning is a dynamic formal and informal learning process involving the continued evaluation of ideas to gain new perspectives concerning one's environment and interaction (Davis, Taylor, & Reyes, 2014). “The most essential characteristics of a lifelong learner are reflection, questioning, enjoying learning, understanding the dynamic nature of knowledge, and engaging in learning by actively seeking learning opportunities” (Davis et al, 2014, p. 444)

Implementation of Life Long Learning In Nursing Education

    Lifelong learning in nursing can be implemented through mandatory educational requirements including continuing education units and certifications (postgraduate). Mandatory requirements would be applicable in all states with the support of the state boards of nursing and credentialing agencies. In addition, mandatory educational requirements would embrace the importance of a nursing culture that encompasses “the relationship between professionalism, knowledge expansion, and enhancement of educational curiosity” (Eason, 2010, p. 157) Certifications would be twofold: One is a formal celebration for the nurse passing a competency examination and the second is where a nurse is involved in seeking higher standards to provide quality care (Eason, 2010).

    Within the professional nursing bodies, there is a need to “develop programs and initiatives that support the ongoing academic progression of staff, enabling them to expand their competencies and implement new roles” (National League for Nursing INLN] Board of Governors, 2011 , p. 3). A new curriculum toward self-directed learning to be taught by nursing faculty in nursing programs is essential to ensure that the student nurses develop habits of study that are self-directed and lifelong in practice.

Outcomes of Life Long Learning In Nursing Education

    A review of the literature shows an unclear view of the concept of lifelong learning in nursing. In the nursing literature, it shows that both the definition and implementation are not well articulated. The literature also points out that lifelong learners need to develop critical thinking skills. Self-directed learning is also a necessary attribute for lifelong learners (Winch, 2008), In addition, the literature shows a lack of measurement of outcomes after educational experiences. According to Maslin Prothero (1997), “If courses provided by nursing education are examined, the emphasis continues to be on input rather than on 'output. 

    There is a need to follow up learners to evaluate the outcome of any education. There is little research examining individuals in their practice to establish any changes in practice following education” (p. 434).There is a need for development of a systemic program for continuing education to encourage nurses to pursue lifelong learning. This program should be developed and executed by highly skilled professional nurses who are both educators and practitioners. Continuing education units should be mandatory throughout the United States. 

    Benchmark studies should be executed to measure both learning and application (input and output).A second recommendation is to develop partnerships with educators to construct nursing programs (college and graduate) to include self-directed learning skills in nursing practice. These new programs should be designed to assure practice in current and future nursing environments. In conjunction with these new programs, faculty should be trained to teach in the mode of self-directed education.

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