Nurses as Directors of Their Own Professional Learning Paths

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 2:05 PM

Gerard Brekelmans, RN, MSc
Department Education and Research, University Hospital Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Learning Objective 1: mention motivating and impeding factors for registered nurses to participate in CPD activities in the Netherlands.

Learning Objective 2: use the Delphi technique for identifying a wide range of issues having an impact on nurses' professional development.


To identify motivating and impeding factors for registered nurses in the Netherlands to participate in CPD activities and prioritize the contextual factors influencing nurses’ participation in CPD activities

Methods: a Delphi study was carried out using a panel of 38 participants.

Results: There was a clear consensus among the experts about the need for nurses to participate in CPD activities. Ultimately, CPD should affect the quality of care provided to clients by the nurses. It was felt, however, that the need for CPD is still not sufficiently recognized by nurses themselves. Further on there was a clear consensus according a  change of mentality among nurses so that they assume responsibility for furthering their own professional development. Encouraging and support is mentioned by line managers and education centers. Nurse associations mentioned a more mandatory way to encourage CPD.

Conclusion: The Delphi technique proved to be a useful method for identifying a wide range of issues having an impact on nurses' professional development. Motivating factors included opportunities for workplace learning, line managers as role models, continuing education facilities, and a new CPD registration system. Impeding factors comprised contextual (e.g., money, time, management style) as well as personal factors (nurses’ age and propensity to care for others rather than themselves).
The outcomes of this study may help healthcare employers offer nurses better attuned opportunities for CPD. All respondent groups, however, have their own specific roles to support and facilitate CPD for nurses. Furthering awareness and a change of mentality among nurses will be necessary. Management and education centers have an important role to play in this respect. Collaboration between the different groups is essential to create a climate in which all nurses can learn by themselves and, in addition, from one another.