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Nursing Education Overview and Analysis

Introduction

The roles of nurses have considerably expanded during the last two decades. For example, these medical workers should act as educators. Additionally, they often need to coordinate the activities of other healthcare professionals. However, many researchers argue that there is a gap between the education of nurses and their everyday practices (Chang & Daly, 2007, p. 261). It means that there are substantial differences between the concepts or topics explored by educators and the workplace activities of nurses. This gap can manifest itself in different ways; for instance, it is possible to mention the rate of turnover among young nurses. One should also refer to the surveys of experienced medical workers who can identify various limitations of the current practices. Apart from that, authors can focus on the practices of hospitals that try to improve the level of students’ preparedness for the role of nurses (Harris, 2014). It is possible to argue that this problem does exist, and it requires the cooperation of different stakeholders such as hospital administrators and educators. They can significantly improve the experiences of nurses as well as patients.

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The assessment of the available evidence

Several indicators suggest that current educational programs do not adequately prepare nurses for the challenges that they may encounter on a daily basis. For instance, these professionals often report high levels of stress and low levels of self-efficacy. As a result, they may decide to quit their jobs (Suzuki et al., 2010, p. 194). One should bear in mind that these problems are more widespread among younger nurses who start their career in medical organizations. Indeed, some medical workers can eventually adjust to this work environment, but many of them cannot cope with these difficulties. Therefore, one can conjecture that colleges and universities do not enable students to overcome these barriers.

Additionally, one can refer to the surveys of experienced medical workers. In particular, these respondents identify several areas that teachers should consider. They state that training should help students get used to the role of educators. In particular, these people should tell patients how to cope with the possible effects of a disease (McNamara, 2000, p. 47). Moreover, they need to provide guidelines for improving the lifestyle of a person. The problem is that many nurses are not able to cope with this task. Furthermore, these people should be more skilled in documenting nursing care (McNamara, 2000, p. 47). For instance, they should accurately record the results of the assessment. This issue is of great importance to other healthcare professionals. Apart from that, the survey of experienced nurses indicates that educators should focus on teamwork skills (McNamara, 2000, p. 47). Students should be able to interact with other medical workers. This cooperation is essential for the timely identification of risks. Very often, young nurses cannot meet these performance standards. These details should be taken into by educators who design the curriculum for students.

Apart from that, nurses should evaluate the state of patients who have several co-morbidities (McNamara, 2000, p. 46). As a rule, these people are more vulnerable. For instance, one can consider those individuals who suffer from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Thus, nurses should understand the factors that can pose a threat their lives. Some of these medical workers do not have this competency. Thus, the gap between education and practice can lead to dangerous medical errors. Additionally, nurses can become less responsive to the needs of patients (McNamara, 2000). Thus, this issue should not be overlooked by various stakeholders such as teachers and administrators of hospitals.

Researchers also note that students do not always apply the theoretical knowledge to their practical tasks. In part, this problem can be explained by the lack of cooperation between clinical instructors and teachers (Saifan, AbuRuz, & Masadeh, 2015, p. 23). Additionally, in many cases, a clinical instructor has to work with many learners. However, such learning activities are rather inefficient (Saifan et al., 2015, p. 26). Therefore, the current situation can be explained by the shortage of educators who work with students in medical settings (Saifan et al., 2015, p. 26). Moreover, one should not suppose that this problem be explained only by inefficient instructional strategies. The organizational environment of hospitals should not be overlooked.

Scholars note that there are some areas in which the gap between nursing practice and education becomes very dangerous. In particular, they concentrate on acute care (Harris, 2014, p. 331). For instance, they mention those patients who need to receive such medical services as coronary care, various forms of surgery, neonatal support and so forth. Nurses must accurately identify the risks to which such people are exposed. Therefore, several hospital systems establish post-graduate residency programs for nurses (Harris, 2014, p. 333). The participants are supposed to work in various settings such as neurological and surgical units (Harris, 2014, p. 333). These experiences can give them a better idea of the tasks that should be performed by acute care nurses. This case suggests that hospitals are not satisfied with the current level of students’ readiness. So, they want to ensure that nurses can take appropriate decisions under stressful conditions. The problem is that such programs are rather expensive, and some medical organizations cannot afford them.

It is important to remember that for a long time, the education of nurses took place in colleges and universities. As a result, some students do not know how various factors can affect their performance (Saifan et al., 2015). For example, one can refer to time constraints and stress that can impair the decisions of a person. Thus, one should pay attention to the workers who help students apply their theoretical knowledge. Very often, these professionals cannot perform this function properly.

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One should bear in mind that the educational background is one of the factors that affects a person’s willingness to leave a medical organization (Suzuki et al., 2010, p. 194). Many new nurses believe that there are incapable of performing their duties. Additionally, these people cannot establish relations with their colleagues (Chang & Daly, 2007, p. 261). As a result, some of them tend to become alienated (Chang & Daly, 2007, p. 261). Admittedly, it is not possible to say that the high turnover of medical workers can be attributed only to their education level. Hospital administrators should not disregard the impact of such factors as inadequate compensation and stressful work environment. Nevertheless, education is an indispensable prerequisite for their successful performance in the workplace. Furthermore, it is one of the variables affecting their satisfaction with their work.

Discussion

Admittedly, this problem does not affect every nurse who starts his/her career. In some cases, the education of these medical workers enables them to perform successfully. Additionally, one should keep in mind that some inherent traits can make a person more vulnerable to stressors. Therefore, he/she cannot always demonstrate the skills acquired during studies. In this case, one should speak only the gap between practice and education. Nevertheless, the available evidence suggests that many nurses lack the skills that are critical for their successful performance. Therefore, one should concentrate on the policies adopted by educational organizations. It is also necessary to evaluate the instructional strategies of teachers. They should reduce the influence of those factors that can increase the risk of medical errors. Moreover, they consider those issues that influence nurses’ attitudes towards their work. By focusing on these details, educators can facilitate graduates’ adjustments to the work environment. Additionally, they can help hospital administrators address such issues as the shortage of nurses and patients’ dissatisfaction. Thus, it is necessary to focus on the best practices adopted by leading universities and clinics.

Conclusion

Overall, this discussion indicates that the gap between education and nursing practice is not an imaginary problem. One can say that medical workers should perform the role of educators. Moreover, they need to work in a multidisciplinary team. They should also be skilled in the assessment of a patient’s state. Unfortunately, in many cases, nurses cannot efficiently cope with these tasks. Apart from that, they should be less vulnerable to the effects of stress. There are several fields in which this deficiency can play a crucial role. For instance, it is critical to focus on acute care. One should promote a close cooperation of hospitals and educational organizations. If this problem is efficiently addressed, the work of many hospitals will improve dramatically.

Reference List

Chang, E., & Daly, J. (2007).Transitions in Nursing: Preparing for Professional Practice. Melbourne, Australia: Elsevier Australia.

Harris, C. (2014). Bridging the Gap Between Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Education and Practice: The Need for Postgraduate Residency Programs. Journal For Nurse Practitioners, 10(5), 331-336.

McNamara, A. (2000). Mind the gap: transitions in nursing education and care delivery systems. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 25(1), 39-50.

Saifan, A., AbuRuz, M., & Masadeh, R. (2015). Theory Practice Gaps in Nursing Education: A Qualitative Perspective. Journal Of Social Sciences, 11(1), 20- 29.

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Suzuki, E., Tagaya, A., Ota, K., Nagasawa, Y., Matsuura, R., & Sato, C. (2010). Factors affecting turnover of Japanese novice nurses in university hospitals in early and later periods of employment. Journal Of Nursing Management, 18(2), 194-204.

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