Developmental Stages of Young Adults and Teaching Strategies In Nursing Education

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Teaching Strategies in Nursing Education for Young Adults

Developmental Stages of Young Adults and Teaching Strategies In Nursing Education

 Who are Young Adulthood (20-40 Years of Age),Development Aspects: Physical, Cognitive, and Psychosocial, Young Adults and Teaching Strategies In Nursing Education.

Who are Young Adulthood (20-40 Years of Age)

    The transition from adolescence to becoming a young adult has been completed emerging adulthood. Early adulthood is composed of the cohort currently between 20 and 34 years of age, who belong to the millennial generation, as well as the cohort currently aged 35 to 40, who are known as Generation X. Both generations exhibit their own characteristic traits and present different challenges to the nurse educator (Fishman, 2016). 

    These two age cohorts encompass approximately 140 million Americans and are more ethnically diverse than ever (Crandell et al., 2012; Fry, 2016).Young adulthood is a time for establishing long term, intimate relationships with other people, choosing a lifestyle and adjusting to it, deciding on an occupation, and managing a home and family. 

    These decisions lead to changes in the lives of young adults that can be a potential source of stress for them. It is a time when intimacy and courtship are pursued and spousal and/or parental roles are developed (Santrock, 2017).

Development Aspects: Physical, Cognitive, and Psychosocial 

    During this period, physical abilities for most young adults are at their peak, and the body is at its optimal functioning capacity (Crandell et al,2012). The cognitive capacity of young adults is fully developed, but with maturation, they continue to accumulate new knowledge and skills from an expanding reservoir of formal and informal experiences. Young adults continue in the formal operations stage of cognitive development (Piaget, 1951, 1952, 1976). 

    These experiences add to their perceptions, allow them to generalize to new situations, and improve their abilities to critically analyze, solve problems, and make decisions about their personal, occupational, and social roles. Their interests for learning are oriented toward those experiences that are relevant for immediate application to problems and tasks in their daily lives. Young adults are motivated to learn about the possible implications of various lifestyle choices (Crandell et al,2012).

    Erikson (1963) describes the young adult's stage of psychosocial development as the period of intimacy versus isolation. During this time, individuals work to establish trusting, satisfying, and permanent relationships with others. They strive to make commitments to others in their personal, occupational, and social lives. As part of this effort, they seek to maintain the independence and self sufficiency they worked to obtain in adolescence.

    Young adults face many challenges as they take steps to control their lives. Many of the events they experience are happy and growth promoting from an emotional and social perspective, but they can also prove disappointing and psychologically draining. The new experiences and multiple decisions young adults must make regarding choices for a career, marriage, parenthood, and higher education can be quite stressful. Young adults realize that the avenues they pursue will affect their lives for years to come (Santrock, 2017).

Young Adults and Teaching Strategies In Nursing Education

    Based on the paucity of literature on health teaching of individuals who belong specifically to this age cohort, young adulthood is the life span period that has received the least attention by nurse educators. At this developmental stage, prior to the emergence of the chronic dis cases that characterize the middle age and older years, young adults are generally very healthy and tend to have limited exposure to health professionals. 

    Their contact with the health care system is usually for preemployment, college, or press port physicals; for a minor episodic complaint; or for pregnancy and contraceptive care (Orshan, 2008). At the same time, young adulthood is a crucial period for the establishment of behaviors that help individuals to lead healthy lives, both physically and emotionally. Many of the choices young adults make, if not positive ones, will be difficult to modify later. 

    As Havighurst (1976) points out, this stage is full of “teachable moment” opportunities and healthcare providers must take advantage of every opportunity to promote healthy behaviors with this population (Hinkle, 2014).Health promotion is the most neglected aspect of healthcare teaching at this stage of life. Yet, many of the health issues related to risk factors and stress management are important to deal with to help young adults establish positive health practices for preventing problems with illness in the future. 

    The major factors that need to be addressed in this age group are healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and avoiding drug abuse. Such behaviors will reduce the incidence of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and overuse of alcohol and drugs (Santrock, 2017).The nurse as educator must find a way to reach and communicate with this audience about health promotion and disease prevention measures. 

    Readiness to learn does not always require the nurse educator to wait for it to develop. Rather, such readiness can be actively fostered through experiences the nurse creates. Knowledge of the individual's lifestyle can provide cues to concentrate on when determining specific aspects of education for the young adult. For example, if the individual is planning marriage, then establishing healthy relationships, family planning, contraception, and parenthood are potential topics to address during teaching ( Orshan, 2008). 

    The motivation for adults to learn comes in response to internal drives, such as need for self-esteem, a better quality of life, or job satisfaction, and in response to external motivators, such as job promotion, more money, or more time to pursue outside activities (Crandell et al,2012; Miller & Stoeckel,2016).When young adults are faced with acute or chronic illnesses or disabilities, many of which may significantly alter their lifestyles, they are stimulated to learn to maintain their independence and return to normal life patterns. 

    It is likely they will view an illness or disability as a serious setback to achieving their immediate or future life goals. Because adults typically desire active participation in the educational process, whenever possible it is important for the nurse as educator to allow them the opportunity for mutual collaboration in health education decision making. 

    They should be encouraged, as Knowles (1990) suggested, to select what to learn (objectives), how they want material to be presented (teaching methods and tools), and which indicators will be used to determine the achievement of learning goals (evaluation ). Also, it must be remembered that adults bring to the teaching-learning situation a variety of experiences that can serve as the foundation on which to build new learning. consequently. 

    It is important to draw on their personal experiences to make learning relevant, useful, and motivating. Young adults tend to be reluctant to expend the resources of time, money, and energy to learn new information, skills, and attitudes if they do not see the content of instruction as relevant to their current lives or anticipated problems (Collins, 2004; Knowles et al., 2015).

    Teaching strategies must be directed at encouraging young adults to seek information that expands their knowledge base, helps them control their lives, and bolsters their self-esteem. Whether they are well or ill, young adults need to know about the opportunities available to learning. Making them aware of health issues and learning opportunities can occur in a variety of settings, such as physicians' offices, student health services, health fairs, community and outpatient clinics, or hospitals. 

    In all cases, these educational opportunities must be convenient and accessible to them in terms of their lifestyle with respect to work and family responsibilities. Relevant, applicable, and practical information is what adults desire and value they want to know “what's in it for me,” according to Collins (2004).

    Because they tend to be very self directed in their approach to learning, young adults do well with written patient education materials and audiovisual tools, including computer assisted instruction, that allow them to self-pace their learning independently. Group discussion is an attractive method for teaching and learning because it provides young adults with the opportunity to interact with others of similar age and in similar situations, such as in parenting groups, prenatal classes, exercise classes, or mar ital adjustment sessions. 

    Although assessment prior to teaching helps to determine the level at which to begin teaching, no matter what the content, the enduring axiom is to make learning easy and relevant. To facilitate learning, present concepts logically from simple to complex and establish conceptual relationships through specific applications of information (Collins, 2004; Musinski, 1999).

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