The term “learning” refers to the eternal attainment of cognitive, behavioral, and mental skills by an individual through experience. People have different learning capacities. This difference underscores the need for my tutor to employ different teaching methods to accommodate diverse learning needs. In the contemporary nursing setting, many scholars have come up with numerous theories regarding the best learning practices (Alligood, 2014). Such theories are applicable in the education sector to improve the overall students’ performance in the backdrop of the rising need to streamline educational systems. The nurse teachers have also realized the need to integrate learning theories and to learn styles into the nursing curriculum to improve their students’ learning outcomes. The recent embracement of the theories and styles in nursing has ignited debate among nurses regarding their usefulness in my nursing career and the reasons why we (nurses) should possess knowledge regarding the said concepts. In this paper, I argue that knowledge regarding learning styles and theories is important in my nursing practice. To achieve the objective, I will explore the benefits of accruing to nurses because of their knowledge about learning theories and learning styles.
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Application of Learning Theories in Nursing
One of the reasons why we need to possess outstanding knowledge about learning theories and styles is to stand a better chance of developing effective strategies for administering behavioral therapies (Moon, 2013). In the past few decades, such therapies have become important components of healthcare. Physicians are increasingly recommending them to improve patient outcomes. The embracement of behavioral therapy in healthcare follows evidence from various researchers that the treatment is associated with better patient outcomes. Additionally, research indicates that behavioral therapies promote personal care among patients suffering from chronic illnesses and other cognitive diseases (Madhavanprabhakaran, Shukri, Hayudini, & Narayanan, 2013).
Personal care is attributed to better patient outcomes since it reduces instances of emergency care needs. As a nurse in the making, I will be directly involved in the administration of the therapies. This situation underscores the need for me to possess knowledge regarding learning theories and learning styles. Under the arrangement, nurses assume the role of tutors, whereby they train patients on the best strategies to cope with undesirable behaviors. Since different people prefer different methods of learning, nurses and caregivers must be conversant with the learning theories and learning styles to offer quality therapies to all patients. If I (as a nurse trainer) lack adequate knowledge regarding such theories and styles, I cannot manage to develop effective training programs for patients who are in need of behavioral therapies. Additionally, I need to select the kind of therapy that a patient requires based on the problem that needs to be addressed (Sagun Ceryl, 2016). Behavioral therapies can be administered either at an individual level or in a group setting. Hence, I need to possess some knowledge about the learning theories and learning styles to determine the setting that best suits an individual. Therefore, such knowledge is central to me for the effective administration of different behavioral therapies.
Syllabus Construction by Nurse Teachers
Other than helping me to plan the behavioral psychoanalysis sessions, knowledge about the learning theories and learning styles helps nurse teachers to develop the teaching syllabus. Generally, a student’s ability to understand a topic or a concept largely depends on the teaching method applied by the tutor (Aliakbari, Parvin, Heidari, & Haghani, 2015). In this regard, teachers need to apply learning theories to make teaching more effective. In developing the set of courses, I must understand that different students have different capabilities, a situation that necessitates the need to use different approaches to ensure that every student benefits from the content taught. Laine, Myllymäki, and Hakala (2015) propose that teachers should study all the learning theories and styles to develop suitable prospectus. Although the theories propose different approaches to learning, they have some similarities, which I may consider when developing the program of study. If an approach is recommended by several theories, I may try it out in class to improve the performance of his or her students.
It is important to note that the traditional teaching systems involved grouping nurse students and then administering the lessons contemporaneously. This situation underscored the need to develop an all-inclusive curriculum. By considering the concepts that are similar in several theories, nurse teachers may develop a set of courses that fits the needs of all students in the group (Keating, 2014). Besides, traditional teaching techniques are gradually being replaced by modern ones, which are deemed more effective. Additionally, research by Keating (2014) indicates that most students find learning more effective when modern techniques of teaching are applied. Based on the arguments, nurse teachers are increasingly using the learning theories and learning styles available in the literature to develop more holistic teaching approaches. In turn, the increased use of the learning theories and styles to develop nursing curriculums has led to my better performance as a student nurse. Additionally, other studies show that the adoption of holistic teaching methods have contributed to better patient care since nurse graduates are well prepared to handle their tasks. The development of holistic approaches requires me to have outstanding knowledge of the learning theories and learning styles. Based on the discussed views, I can conclude that knowledge of the learning theories and styles is important to my nursing practice since it helps other nurse teachers and me to develop suitable programs to facilitate effective learning.
Instilling Knowledge among Patients
Instilling knowledge among patients denotes the process of imparting personal care skills to patients to encourage their participation in healthcare. In the recent past, healthcare providers have realized the need to educate patients to promote personal care. Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) requires nurses to provide patient education to boost patient outcomes while reducing the number of persons in need of inpatient services. As a nurse, I play a pivotal role in offering such education to patients. Two main methods, namely, the mixed media approach and the group discussion, are used to effect training on employees (Kearney-Nunnery, 2015).
The mixed-media approach refers to a method of imparting skills to patients using a variety of mediums that the patient is conversant with. It involves the delivery of the relevant education to a patient using the medium that he or she prefers. The method is characterized by the use of electronic devices such as smartphones and computers, depending on the literacy levels of the patient. On the other hand, the group discussion method of teaching involves the arrangement of patients into groups. Each group is composed of persons with similar characteristics who need similar interventions. Teaching in a group setting focuses on the topic that affects the group as a whole, as opposed to individual training, which focuses on the individual’s needs. Group members interact with each other. Here, they share their individual experiences. To ensure that the patients derive maximum benefits from such education, it is necessary for me to have exceptional knowledge of the learning theories and learning styles. Such knowledge will help me to decide the best approach to use to facilitate the training based on the underlying educational needs.
Internet-based Knowledge Sharing
In contemporary organizations, knowledge is created and shared among the stakeholders, as opposed to acquiring it in class. The evolution of the internet and social media has facilitated a quick sharing of knowledge among nurses, a situation that leads to team learning. Such sharing of knowledge is important since it facilitates the passage of skills from the experienced nurses to the less exposed ones. To make online team learning effective, the entire team must be conversant with the learning theories and styles to apply them to learn from the online resources (Gutnick et al., 2014). In most organizations, online knowledge sharing involves the dissemination of information from a central point for the employees to retrieve using supported devices. As part of the disseminators of such learning materials, I need to be conversant with the learning theories and styles for me to disseminate the information in a way that will benefit each nurse learner. Additionally, most hospitals are utilizing social media to orientate new nurses. For the internet-based orientation to be successful, the passers of knowledge must be conversant with the learning theories to design the messages in the most educative manner. Therefore, I need to utilize different techniques of online orientation to fit the learning needs of each new nurse.
High Nurse Retention Rates
The other benefit that accrues when I have sufficient knowledge regarding the learning theories and learning styles is increased morale and retention rate. The knowledge about learning theories and styles facilitates personal and team-based research to uncover the best ways to provide care to patients. For example, nurses with adequate knowledge regarding the learning theories and styles may use the internet to research a problem to make the right treatment. This platform increases its efficiency, which results in the reduction of medical errors. Efficiency leads to improved quality of care and increased staff retention rates (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). It is important to note that medical errors are the leading causes of complications among patients. Such complications often lead to frustrations among nurses. Errors may increase the levels of job dissatisfaction. In any organization, job satisfaction leads to low staff turnover rates, a situation that increases the overall performance of the firm. The reduction of medical errors within a hospital will automatically increase my morale and hence the overall job satisfaction. The increased levels of job satisfaction among nurses lead to high staff retention rates. The high retention rates of experienced nurses contribute to better patient outcomes since the experienced healthcare providers have the ability to make rational decisions regarding a patient’s health, thanks to their knowledge of learning theories and learning styles.
Development of Continuous Training Programmes for Qualified Nurses
The rising need to provide quality care to patients necessitates my adoption of continuous training programs as a qualified nurse. The development of such training programs requires the developers to have outstanding knowledge regarding the learning theories and styles to establish effective curriculums (Butts & Rich, 2013). Nurses are increasingly assuming the role of managers under the continuum of care systems. Nurse managers are expected to effectively manage their teams to achieve quality care for the patients (Munhall, 2012). The management of the team requires nurses like me to be conversant with the learning theories and styles to effectively understand each team member. Besides, nurse managers are directly involved in the development of continuous training programs. This role raises the need for me to understand the learning theories to ensure that the programs that I develop are beneficial to all the qualified nurses.
The topic of the need for nurses to have the right knowledge regarding the learning theories and styles has sparked a heated debate among scholars. On one side of the debate, a section of scholars argues that nurses need to possess outstanding knowledge regarding the learning theories to execute their duties with ease. On the other hand of the debate, other scholars argue that such knowledge is necessary, although it is not compulsory. Scholars who support the possession of the knowledge by nurses observe that such knowledge is essential in developing teaching curriculums by nurse teachers. Additionally, proponents of this school of thought claim that knowledge of the learning theories and styles is central to patient education, the administration of behavioral therapy, and research. Such expertise leads to improved care. Opponents of the view that such knowledge is not necessary to claim that nurses can still accomplish their roles even without such knowledge. However, in this paper, I have argued that knowledge regarding learning theories and styles is a must-have for all nurses.
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Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2013). Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
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