Work-based learning in health care organisations

The lack of support from the management of the organisation and nurse managers is seen as the greatest obstacle to work-based learning of nursing staff (Govranos and Newton, 2014).

The support of management and awareness of the possibilities of work-based learning create a positive culture of lifelong learning (Wilson et al., 2006; Govranos and Newton, 2014).

However, nurse managers often tend to underestimate their influence on the development of a culture that supports learning. A nurse manager’s significance as a role model is remarkable, which is why it is important that the managers commit themselves to continuous learning practices (Bjørk et al., 2013.)

By participating in the implementation of learning strategies and adopting different studying techniques, a nurse manager becomes a positive role model and a motivator for the staff (Wilson et al., 2006). The manager can create the kind of functional models that promote and support these learning events (Bjørk et al., 2013). Employees also see it as important that managers encourage them to utilise new knowledge and permit experiment with new courses of action (Lundgren, 2011).

Work-based learning is an important part of professional development in which both the learner and the learning environment change and affect each other (Skår, 2010). The support of a nurse manager, a mentor or colleagues makes the learning process in a complex workplace environment possible (Ramage, 2014).

Wilson et al. (2006) see a positive changing in the learning culture of a workplace when learning and professional development are understood as a continuous process through life, which results to the employees beginning to take responsibility for learning and development themselves. The employee begin to want to look for learning opportunities and arrange time for learning. Those nurses who understand the significance of learning actively try to resolve problems related to being rushed and other obstacles of learning (Govranos and Newton, 2014.).

Professional education gives the basic skills for nursing, but learning is a process that continues throughout a nurse’s whole career in the everyday work of the organisation. The creation of a culture that supports work-based learning is the best way to ensure professional competence among nursing staff in the future, as well.

The results of this review challenge the management of health care organisations to be aware of the value and significance of work-based learning from the perspective of their organisation’s action and success, and to pay attention to the perspective of work-based learning in strategic plans.


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