Effective Learning for Managers' Professional Development: Impact on Practice

Monday, 22 July 2013: 10:45 AM

Melanie A. Jasper, PhD, MSc, BNurs, BA, PGCEA, RN, RM, RHV
College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales
Karien Jooste, PhD
Nursing, University of the Western Cape, Bellville cape Town, South Africa

Learning Objective 1: develop resource-efficient work-based learning strategies for developing managers' capacity to respond to challenges in practice

Learning Objective 2: utilise work-based learning opportunities to build knowledge and skills for contemporary nursing practice

Purpose: To present conclusions from the All-Wales professional development programme for ward managers relating to effectiveness of work-based reflective learning strategies and consideration of resource-use efficiencies associated with these strategies. 

Methods: a national multi-method evaluation incorporating statistical data, focus group and individual semi-structured interviews with 32 nurse managers, 16 programme leaders/ education managers.  

Results: 923 nurse maangers completed programmes over a four-year period, with 250 awarded the programme certificate. Various models were adopted in designing a programme against general principles. Where reflective learning strategies were utilised, such as pre-programme identification of learning/skills needs, action learning sets, individualised learning contracts, and portfolios of evidence demonstrating achievement of the required competencies, completion of the programme resulted in long-lasting changes to both leadership/management practice and development of innovative nursing practice which impacted on patient care and outcomes.

Financial constraints necessitate cost-effective professional development directly impacting patient care and management/leadership practice – evidence suggest that work-based learning, designed to build skills and capacity for solving work-based problems directly affects managers’ self-awareness and confidence in building teams and improves leadership skills to empower the workforce. This approach enables nurse managers to access a range of learning opportunities outside traditional classroom learning methods, including online/web-based materials, role modelling, using patient stories, and peer-assisted learning. Utilisation of practice development facilitators, maximising learning-in-practice has significant impact on embedding leadership and management practice. 

Conclusion: Work-based learning activities, located within the manager's sphere of practice and developed through reflective learning techniques are most likely to result in practice development and change in management behaviour and leadership style, resulting in improved teamwork and patient outcomes. These straties also prove cost effective in resource-scarce environments where both personal and professional development can be demonstrated and show an effectt in practice. These strategies are not context specific, but can be adapted to other cutlures and nursing contexts to promote service-needs-led development