The sphere of nursing has altered dramatically over the last ten years. The significant changes in the structure of society, scientific progress, and the rapid development of technologies resulted in the reconsideration of the approach to several traditional activities. Nursing is not an exception as it is also impacted by all these factors. The character of the given occupation implies the adherence to the most efficient practices and usage of the latest tools and technologies to guarantee the appropriate care and fast recovery. In this regard, new specialists are educated in terms of the new requirements for professionalism and competence. However, the development of the technologies and society introduces new challenges which the graduates are not ready to face (Pacquiao, 2007). For this reason, the gap between nursing education and nursing practice appears.
The background for the appearance of the above-mentioned gap was created in the previous century by the great contribution to the development of technologies. The increase of the tempos of growth of this sector triggered the significant change process resulting in the introduction of several practices and tools. The healthcare sector was also impacted by these tendencies, creating new medicines, and promoting new ways of treatment. The scale of the changes is so significant that it is possible to state the revolution in the given sector and the sphere of nursing (Orsolini-Hain, 2007). The comprehensive overhaul of the relations with patients and the methods of work conditioned the increase of the importance of the topical knowledge related to the issue. Furthermore, the approach to the education of nursing specialists was altered in terms of modern demands. Unfortunately, there are still many significant problems.
The major concern of the modern educational sphere is its inability to guarantee the presence of the practical skills needed for the efficient functioning of a specialist. Traditional nursing education implies the preparation of a student for the completion of the tasks which are considered to be the nurses ones and performance of various kinds of activities needed for efficient and beneficial work. The tasks and the focus of the education are determined by the existing demands and the topical challenges a common nursing specialist faces in his/her activities. The given model of education is taken as the traditional one; however, it also implies the introduction of certain changes to the curriculum in response to the appearance of the new demand or problematic issue. Additionally, all students have to undertake an internship to acquire the basic practical skills and obtain at least the vague image of the real-life conditions. Yet, some modern scientists tend to prove the low efficiency of the given model (Ajani & Moez, 2011).
The main reason for these claims lies in the fact that the real job of a nurse differs significantly from the idea the inexperienced professionals have. The practice poses some complicated challenges which they are not able to face and overcome. The new equipment and procedures combined with the relations with the patients and the staff of the healthcare establishment confuse a specialist and contribute to the development of his/her diffidence. The level of efficiency and professionalism decreases and a specialist spends from 3 to 6 months trying to adapt to the new conditions and obtain the basic practical skills needed for the performance of his/her tasks (Ajani & Moez, 2011). The constantly changing environment and the lack of the skill of working in some emergent situations result in the deterioration of the image of a specialist and his/her self-perception.
The above-mentioned facts evidence the gap existing between nursing education and practice. It becomes obvious that “many health care professionals lack the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to change the systems in which they work, calling for a radical redesign of nursing education to integrate new safety and quality science” (Sherwood, 2011, p. 226). However, the existence of the gap has a pernicious effect on the development of the healthcare sector as the introduction of the new tools and practices becomes complicated because of the lack of knowledge base. Additionally, it might result in a decrease in the level of efficiency of a certain healthcare establishment and the process of the recovery of various patients. For these reasons, the existence of the gap between education and practice is inadmissible under modern conditions.
Resting on these facts, the transformation of the educational system becomes one of the major concerns of the modern nursing sphere as the new specialists should be prepared for the real-life conditions to work efficiently. First, it is vital to implement new technologies in the learning process. Science is one of the most important concerns impacting the evolution of the sphere. For this reason, the last tendencies and technologies should be analyzed while educating would-be specialists. The knowledge of the new equipment, the basic skills of how to manage it, and the principles of the functioning of the medical technologies will contribute to the increase in the level of performance of a specialist and his/her efficiency. Moreover, the gap will become less significant because of the acquisition of additional skills.
Ways to improve the situation
Furthermore, the latest investigation proves the necessity of the increase in the level of attention given to the development of practical skills in educational establishments (Bing-Jonsson, Foss, & Bjork, 2016). Sherwood (2011) underlines the beneficial impact it might have on the competence of would-be specialists. For this reason, the pattern according to which the nursing education is organized should be reconsidered to make the practical skills one of the most important concerns. The analysis of the practical tasks and dilemmas a specialist has to resolve will contribute to the significant increase of his/her competence and professional value. A nurse will spend less time on decision making and demonstrate more confidence in his/her daily activities. Furthermore, the focus on practical skills will condition a nurse’s involvement in the resolution of the most complicated tasks.
Finally, it is crucial to keep in mind that the modern world presents several new challenges every day. For this reason, the constant reconsideration of the curriculum and the introduction of the new subjects, practices, and concepts are vital for nursing education. The obsolescence of the program and curriculum is one of the main factors contributing to the appearance of the gap between education and practice. Being educated by the old dated perspectives, new specialists are not ready to face reality and work in terms of the hostile and changing environment (Conner, 2014). Furthermore, the accusation of the topical and important knowledge will contribute to the better engagement of a specialist in the working process and increase his/her efficiency.
Revolving around the nursing education and practice, it is crucial to admit the impact these issues have on the evolution of the society and the health of the nation. The healthcare sector is one of the most important institutions guaranteeing the prosperity of the state. For this reason, the aligning of its efficient functioning and promotion of the implementation of the new practices combined with the creation of the knowledge base is the most important task of the government. The functioning of healthcare is impacted by the ability of educational establishments to learn students and prepare them for real-life conditions. Besides, the gap between education and practice could have a pernicious effect on the whole state.
To summarize, it is possible to acknowledge the existence of the gap between nursing education and nursing practice. It results from the inability of the majority of educational establishments to align the learning process by the most important tendencies related to the healthcare sector. The lack of practical skills and the knowledge of the modern equipment and practices used in the hospitals result in a significant decrease in the level of performance of a new specialist and his/her inability to perform crucial procedures. It also leads to the appearance of the necessity of the additional training which makes the education of a nurse more complicated and cost-based. It follows from these cogitations that it is crucial to develop the educational sphere to guarantee the further evolution of the healthcare sector and improvement of the health of the nation.
Ajani, K., & Moez, S. (2011). Gap between knowledge and practice in nursing. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3927-3931. Web.
Bing-Jonsson, P., Foss, C., & Bjork, I. (2016).The competence gap in community care: Imbalance between expected and actual nursing staff competence. Nordic Journal of Nursing Research, 36(1), 27-37. Web.
Conner, B. (2014). Bridging the gap between academia and clinical practice. American Nurse. Web.
Orsolini-Hain, L. (2007). Examining the Impending Gap in Clinical Nursing Expertise. Policy Politics Nursing Practice, 8(3), 158-169, Web.
Pacquiao, D. (2007).The Relationship Between Cultural Competence Education and Increasing Diversity in Nursing Schools and Practice Settings. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 18(1), 28-37. Web.
Sherwood, G. (2011). Integrating quality and safety science in nursing education and practice. Journal of Research in Nursing, 16(3), 226-240. Web.