Health outcomes of the general public depend on the knowledge that nurses learn while receiving education and utilize while working. That is why they are to meet certain standards formed on the basis of the needs of current society. Today’s nurse is to be “one that is equipped not only with the basic requisite knowledge and skill to function in the clinical aspect of health care provision, but must also possess the requisite knowledge and skill to function as a team leader, manager of resources, counselors and advocate to patients” (Buncuan, 2010). Of course, each aspect is taken into consideration and maintained in the educational program, but nurses still face difficulties when they start working. It means that the range of improvements is to be conducted to bridge the gap between education and practice so that the transition will be insensible and will not cause any problems.
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Identifying the Gap
Needless to say that the gap between education and practice is mostly seen by the nurses who have just crossed this line. Still, it is important to realize that the problems occur on some basis. It means that to deal with them the attention is to be paid to the educators, students, and practitioners.
Nursing today cannot be imagined without utilizing new technologies. Unfortunately, many educators who spent years working only with a particular material are often reluctant to learn new information. They do not want to get knowledge; thus, they are not able to teach the students.
New clinical technologies and medical devices streamline the process of healthcare delivery. The majority of personnel are already familiar with a variety of software. They use it every day to examine the consumer, perform electronic documentation and provide the access to the patient’s charts with the help of the computer. Many hospitals provide training for their employees to understand how the tools can be used and realize the advantages of their utilization. However, such programs are usually maintained when the equipment is on the stage of implementation or has just been implemented. It means that if a nurse starts working at the hospital that already dealt with the device and is successfully using it for a long period of time, one is likely to face difficulties. Of course, it depends on the education.
Some educators refer to the outdated information and provide the students with it. Thus, they do not know how to work with particular devices after graduation. As, the training will not be repeated, the nurse is to learn on one’s own. All people tend to make mistakes at the beginning, but in such situation they can have an adverse impact on the patients’ outcomes. The gap can also occur if the student was not diligent enough and just failed to learn the information provided by the professor. Still, this issue also depends on the educators. They are to check the students’ knowledge and decide whether one is ready to work as a nurse practitioner or not.
The competency also presupposes the knowledge of the latest procedures and protocols, etc. The educators cannot use one plan to teach students during several years. The peculiarities of healthcare delivery change very often, as they are targeted at improvement. Thus, the educators are to understand that their notes should be updated to include the most recent information. The students usually do not check the data they gain during the classes and take the words of their teachers on trust. As they start practicing, some may utilize this knowledge and face unexpected problems.
As a rule, the educators fail to update the information due to the severe academic load. Being always busy, they find time only for classes and the evaluation of the students’ knowledge. Moreover, the professors need to conduct researcher, which is also time-consuming. Consequently, they do not have enough time for such things as clinical attachment. Of course, the source of the problem can be the lack of commitment. One may lose interest to the job or have problems with co-workers, which affects the issue.
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Sometimes nursing students cannot see the connection between their knowledge and practice. They may know lots of theoretical information but lack understanding. Usually, such things occur when one is cramming everything up even not trying to deepen into the subject and comprehend how this or that data can be used. Eventually, they know a lot of solutions but are not able to identify the issues that are to be solved. This discrepancy underlines the gap and its influence on the healthcare delivery.
Nurse practitioners sometimes also broaden the gap between education and practice. They are focused on the results of their actions and omit the peculiarities of the procedure itself. The working day of people who work within the sphere of healthcare delivery is overloaded very often. If something is to be done straight away, some nurses act intuitively and do not evaluate the situation. In this case, they may fail to follow particular instructions or protocols, etc. The same is likely to happen if the number of tasks that are to be done till the end of the shift is enormous. This issue shows that the knowledge failed to be imprinted, and it is not automatized. The gap can be broadened due to the lack of personnel. Thus, one may have no time to attend some sessions or training.
Bridging the Gap
The nurse leaders in several spheres discussed the necessity of implementation of the latest evidence-based study to enhance the process of healthcare delivery. Unfortunately, they faced problems and understood that nursing practitioners reject any changes they propose. Moreover, the survey showed that many ambitious new nurses are discouraged to provide any improvements and alterations in the usual processes. It was concluded that instead of treating them as partners on a health-care team, those supervising them during placements “often silence them when they raise issues or questions about something they have observed in a patient’s care” (Eggertson, 2013). Considering this situation, the researchers discussed the ways that can help to bridge the gap between education and practicing.
Today many learning tools are created for the nurses. Depending on their level, they can be utilized by students of different levels. They provide the professionals with the essential knowledge and can be integrated int the lifelong learning programs (Nilbert & Troseth, 2011). The most important thing is that they discuss current healthcare environments without flourishes. In this way, students gain an opportunity to understand what are the peculiarities of a real clinical practice.
Evidence-based practice is the best way to bridge the gap between the knowledge and practice (Bradly & Lewin, 2007). It allows the students and practitioners plan their actions according to the information that was already proved. For the educators and nurses to realize the necessity of the implementation special sessions should be provided. The most important task is to convince these professionals that the results will really improve.
Nurse practitioners and educators should keep to the continuing education, as it will provide them with the necessary knowledge. They are to communicate and to share their experience to get to know new approaches and create innovative ideas.
The educators are to have a particular amount of working hours designed for clinical attachment. A load of nurses is hard to influence, but its facilitation is likely to make the profession look more attractive and give enough time for adaptation to the changes.
Moreover, the representatives of the mentioned spheres of nursing are to be provided with special training where they can gain the knowledge and experience in utilizing new clinical technologies and devices so that they will not waste time trying to cope with everything independently (Jerlock, Falk, & Severinsson, 2003). The performance of the students, practitioners and educators is to be assessed, as the best way to make sure that the gap is bridging is to control the situation.
Thus, it can be concluded that the gap between nursing practice and education exists. Moreover, it has an adverse influence on the process of healthcare delivery. The nurses face many difficulties due to the gaps in education that affect their work. They become reluctant to alterations and fail to meet the requirements applied to the professionals. Still, the situation can be improved if it is taken under control. The superiors are to underline the necessity of new implementations, provide training and assess the performance of the nurses.
Bradly, N., & Lewin, L. (2007). Evidence-based practice in nursing: Bridging the gap between research and practice. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 21(1), 53-56.
Buncuan, J. (2010). Bridging the gaps between education and practice in nursing. Web.
Eggertson, L. (2013). The gap between clinical practice and education. Canadian Nurse, 109(7), 22-26.
Jerlock, M., Falk, K., & Severinsson, E. (2003). Academic nursing education guidelines: tool for bridging the gap between theory, research and practice. Nursing & Health Sciences, 5(3), 219-228.
Nilbert, A., & Troseth, M. (2011). Nursing education & practice: Bridging the gap. Web.