A teaching portfolio is a crucial element of the process of professional development as it offers several advantages for the educator. One of its primary functions is to provide a summary of the chosen educational content, methods, materials, and approaches to teaching. In addition, the inclusion of rationale for each of the choices increases accessibility of the teaching plan it accompanies and improves understanding of the steps taken by the responsible parties (Blais, 2015).
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Finally, by encouraging an argumentative approach to the choice of content and means of its implementation, it enhances self-reflection opportunities for both the educator and the controlling entity (Oermann & Gaberson, 2016). The latter is accomplished in two ways. First, in the process of supplying a rationale for the selected content and tools, the author is able to spot the elements that are either insufficiently or inadequately supported by evidence or otherwise unfitting for the purpose of the initiative. Second, a detailed reflection framework that is commonly used to develop a fieldwork report serves as a tool for progress tracking and, by extension, opens up the possibility for timely adjustment of the planned practices and interventions (Husebø, O’Regan, & Nestel, 2015).
The following paper contains a comprehensive portfolio of the teaching plan on the prevention of burnout among nurses. The portfolio consists of three parts. The session content and plan details the content covered in the session, establishes a relationship between the learning objectives identified for the event, and connects them to the cognitive theory in nursing education. The assessment section provides a description of the approach selected for measuring the efficiency of the learning outcomes as well as a rationale that connects it to the active learning theory. Finally, the reflection section presents a detailed account of the identified outcomes followed by the analysis of their achievements and shortcomings as well as an action plan based on the synthesised knowledge.
Session Content and Plan Justification
In order to ensure consistency and obtain clarity of direction both prior to and in the process of education, it is necessary to construct an appropriate teaching plan (Billings & Halstead, 2015). An important prerequisite to its successful completion is the identification of the learning objectives consistent with the overall goals of the event. The said objectives are expected to be based on the intentions of the educator, correspondent to the vision of the organisation, and exercise sufficient depth to clarify further choices made by the education facilitators (Bradshaw & Hultquist, 2016). Importantly, the plan must also contain a meaningful description of the approaches to assessment of the process as well as an overview of possible courses of action in the case of the most likely outcomes (Danielson, 2013).
Additionally, the objectives are to be accompanied by the designated practices suitable for achieving them as well as an explanation of their compatibility with overall goals (Marzano, 2015). While it is unlikely that such approach would cover the entirety of possible scenarios, it certainly decreases uncertainty that is characteristic of poorly planned educational efforts and thus provides a robust framework for field utilisation by the practitioner (Sayers, Salamonson, DiGiacomo, & Davidson, 2015). In other words, an adequate and carefully constructed teaching plan ensures the effective communication of knowledge and minimises the possibility of unforeseen deviations from the planned course of events.
Justification of Topic and Covered Content
Burnout is among the most significant determinants of employee performance in the highly stressful workplace setting. At the same time, the steadily diversifying field of nursing presents individual practitioners with a growing amount of areas of responsibility that inevitably contributes to workplace stress (Montgomery, Spânu, Băban, & Panagopoulou, 2015). Since burnout has been directly tied to stress by numerous studies, it is reasonable to expect a high likelihood of developing burnout symptoms by the nursing practitioners on a daily basis.
Importantly, the causes of burnout are not necessarily limited to the issues created by challenging working environment. Recent studies suggest that internal workplace conflicts, which are a common occurrence in the nursing field, dramatically increase both the likelihood of burnout development and the gravity of its consequences (Rezaei, Naderi, Mahmoudi, Rezaei, & Hashemian, 2015). The unresolved issue of role ambiguity further aggravates the matters, as the role conflicts influence both the amount of stress experienced by nurses and the confusion resulting from the inadequate application of resources (contributing to the sense of insignificance associated with burnout) (Olivares-Faúndez, Gil-Monte, Mena, Jélvez-Wilke, & Figueiredo-Ferraz, 2014).
Depending on the choice of variables by the researchers, the estimated proportion of nurses that are subject to burnout at any given moment is as large as 70 percent, and the number is slowly but steadily increases (Adriaenssens, De Gucht, & Maes, 2015).
In addition to the well-established link between increase n stress and a decline of employee performance, burnout introduces several critical conditions that are incompatible with the healthcare environment and severely undermines its fundamental principles. Most notably, the healthcare workers that develop the symptoms often start perceiving the patients as objects rather than individuals, which limits their capacity for delivery of individualised patient-centred care (Hall, Johnson, Watt, Tsipa, & O’Connor, 2016).
Next, the sense of detachment from work discourages them from making important decisions due to the fact that they perceive their actions as deprived of meaning (Chlan, 2013). By extension, such situation undermines the principles of accountability and disrupts the engagement of the personnel, thereby increasing employee turnover and serving as a demoralising factor (Özden, Karagözoğlu, & Yıldırım, 2013). In addition, it undermines the healthy workplace climate and restricts communication with the management as well as between the employees (You et al., 2013). Most importantly, the combined effect of burnout adversely impacts patient safety, which arguably remains among the most important metrics of the nurses’ efficiency (Kirwan, Matthews, & Scott, 2013).
Despite the numerous findings that illustrate the magnitude of the problem as well as its multiple negative effects, many nursing practitioners possess little knowledge on the matter. According to the latest inquiries, the nurses are unable to provide a coherent description of the burnout prevention practices, cannot identify even the most prominent signs and symptoms of the condition, and in some instances fail to adequately define the issue at all (Sansó et al., 2015).
Therefore, the necessity of the educational program aimed at addressing the identified gaps in understanding of the issue cannot be overestimated. In other words, it is expected that the teaching plan in question is to provide the nurses with sufficient knowledge to be able to timely detect the risk of developing burnout and invoke measures intended to decrease both its likelihood and severity. The expected proficiency is to be applicable for self-administration as well as supporting the co-workers.
Teaching Styles and Strategies
One of the critical aspects responsible for the success of the educational program is the choice of learning style and its alignment with learning theory. The said styles differ depending on the area of knowledge application and the characteristics of the identified audience (Billings & Halstead, 2015). The most common approaches used in the field of nursing education are cognitive, affective, and psychomotor varieties (Reigeluth, 2013).
Considering the orientation on nursing practitioners, whose level of professional knowledge, cultural competence, and exposure to the common workplace issues can be extrapolated from the requirements presented by the professional setting, it would be reasonable to prioritise the cognitive learning theory as a dominant approach for the program in question. First, such choice is consistent with the planned inclusion of several simple simulation scenarios intended to familiarise the participants with real-life examples of burnout. By adopting the cognitive theory, it would be possible to introduce interactive situations that are not confined to the limited choice of options (Burke & Mancuso, 2012).
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Since the course is introductory in nature, the risk of overly complicated is minimised while the flexibility of the nurses’ decisions is not compromised (Aliakbari, Parvin, Heidari, & Haghani, 2015). Next, the cognitive theory contains the greatest available potential for self-assessment and self-reflection, which is beneficial for the topic in question (Karimi & Zardosht, 2015). Specifically, since burnout is highly dependent on several individual factors and is, therefore, difficult to generalise, self-diagnosis and self-reflection are among the desirable outcomes of the education program. While cognitive-based interventions are known for their high requirement for participants’ data processing capacity, it is possible to disregard this potential limitation on the grounds of a high base level of proficiency among the intended audience. In other words, cognitive learning theory is consistent with the identified goals and allows us to expect a high degree of effectiveness of the intervention.
Formulation and acknowledgement of learning objectives is a necessary component of the teaching process. For the educator, a clear definition and description of objectives ensure the presence of guidelines supporting a certain aspect of the intended event. Objectives decrease ambiguity of goals and serve as a core around which the event is designed (Tyler, 2013). In addition, a clearly formulated objective enhances the understanding of the required resources (e.g. printed materials necessary for information delivery) and allows an approximate estimation of the time frame necessary for the intervention (Cropley & Dave, 2014).
Finally, the objectives clarify the areas of knowledge evaluation and may improve the choice of means of assessment (O’Connor, 2014). For the learners, objectives give the sense of direction the course is expected to take and outline the areas of assessment planned by the educator (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013).
In other words, they improve the focus on the goals both at the planning stage and throughout the educational event. In this specific case, the objectives ensure that the learners improve their understanding of burnout in workplace setting as well as in the field of nursing, are able to identify the signs and symptoms associated with it, are familiar with the effective practices of burnout prevention, and can assist their co-workers in coping with the issue. The objectives were systematised in a successive order to build up a gradual and systematic understanding of the matter and stimulate critical thinking while at the same time retain accessibility of the materials (Benishek et al., 2015). By the end of the program, participants are expected to be able to:
- Explain the meaning of nurse burnout;
- Evaluate and give the real life examples of signs and symptoms of nurse burnout;
- State, explain and demonstrate best practices for prevention of nurse burnout;
- Explain how to help workmates to deal with nurse burnout.
The following section details the activities used for achieving each of the objectives.
Explain the meaning of nurse burnout
At the beginning of the meeting, I asked the participants to explain their understanding of burnout. Based on the voiced information, the audience formulated the definition of the phenomenon which was then matched to several definitions provided by me. Next, I outlined the current academic consensus regarding the mechanisms responsible for its occurrence and the psychological implications associated with the condition based on several studies (Lumb, 2016; Sullivan, 2016; Tzu, Bannerman, & Hill, 2016).
Finally, I explained the main concerns associated with the effects of burnout in a workplace setting and asked the nurses to apply the received information to the nursing field. According to the plan, the missed statements were then to be provided by me, but the participants were able to identify all risks posed by burnout for nursing. Finally, I suggested a discussion regarding the reasons for the relevance of the subject based on the specificities of the nursing profession. Thus, by the end of the introductory part, a thorough understanding of the issue was demonstrated by the participants.
Evaluate and give the real life examples of signs and symptoms of nurse burnout
Once the understanding of the concept was established, the group proceeded to the identification and evaluation of its manifestations. First, I gave them the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge on the subject. The signs named by the nurses included tiredness, physical exhaustion, anxiety, loss of motivation, disruption of sleeping habits, and dissatisfaction, all of which are consistent with the symptoms identified in the literature (Maslach & Leiter, 2017).
The missed signs, such as detachment, self-doubt, progressing cynicism and negative attitude, and helplessness were provided by me to complete the picture. I then pointed out to the involvement of indirect effects of the condition, usually grouped under the behavioural category (Smoktunowicz et al., 2015). After my explanation, the group was able to identify all the possible outcomes, including procrastination, a decline of responsibility, frustration, aggressive behaviour, and risk of substance abuse, among others (Young, 2015).
It is worth noting that none of the secondary effects was identified by the nurses initially and surfaced only after the possibility was pointed out by me. In addition, all of the symptoms named by the participants were aligned with those of stress, which is consistent with my expectations. Closer to the end of the discussion, I pointed it out as evidence that burnout is often misunderstood and frequently misidentified with stress (Gilbert, 2014). This move was expected to contribute to the memorization of the information and motivate the critical approach to the question.
State, explain and demonstrate best practices for prevention of nurse burnout
Based on the drawn parallel between stress and burnout, I asked which practices and techniques could be effective in decreasing the likelihood of developing a condition and coping with its effects. As was expected, the participants demonstrated high proficiency in the question, generating a comprehensive list of strategies and individual pieces of advice, all of which were equally relevant for stress and burnout. These strategies included avoidance of stressful situations, preference of tasks with lower responsibility, reaching out to close friends and trustworthy co-workers, and seeking professional counselling (Rupert, Miller, & Dorociak, 2015).
By this time, the participants were expected to become familiar with the procedure and attempted to cover all the possible variants, which increased their involvement in accordance with the plan. I then pointed to the missed options, such as a focus on the effort rather than the outcome, attempts to communicate the emotional state to peers and the management, and delegation of tasks to co-workers (Riisgaard, Nexøe, Le, Søndergaard, & Ledderer, 2016). Closer to the end of the session, the nurses were handed the basic tests on burnout diagnosis and were asked to conduct a self-diagnosis. After the results had been ready, they were submitted through a mobile platform, and the prevalence of predisposition to burnout was calculated for illustrative purposes.
Explain how to help workmates to deal with nurse burnout
Directly after the survey results were ready, the group was asked to develop an intervention intended to help the selected participants with burnout prevention. The knowledge obtained during the previous part of the session was sufficient for the activity, and the attention of the group was directed towards the specific needs of individuals and the suitability of the selected methods for the workplace setting. After this, several real-life scenarios were proposed to the audience that that contained conditions meant to limit the choice of strategies, such as the inability to delegate the tasks or transfer to the unfamiliar environment. The exercise was expected to actualize the knowledge obtained in the course of the event, familiarise the learners with the areas of its application, and promote critical thinking in real-world situations.
Assessment of Learning and Teaching
Knowledge assessment is traditionally associated with control of the received information, in which case it is performed during and after the learning program. In addition, assessment is a necessary component of event planning, in which case it provides an overview of learners’ prior knowledge and, by extension, points to the elements that should be prioritised by the educator (Billings & Halstead, 2015).
A thorough understanding of the topic by the planner ensures the presence of the relevant material as well as a rational distribution of time and resources during the event. A well-planned assessment of learners’ knowledge, on the other hand, provides an opportunity to confirm the success of the learning event and detect the possible gaps in understanding of the matter to improve the future ones (Danielson, 2013).
To estimate the nurses’ prior knowledge on the subject, I relied mostly on the data from studies that outline the most common gaps and misconceptions and adjusted the information according to my observations. While such approach is understandably less reliable and precise than direct inquiry, it eliminated the need for time-consuming tests. Besides, it was shown to yield sufficient accuracy judging from the responses of nurses throughout the event.
The measurement of learning outcomes was done by tracking nurses’ responses throughout the event and matching the percentage of correct answers to the planned results. At each stage throughout the event, the questions and prompts for learner participation were based on the information presented to them during the previous segment. In this way, the information was consistently actualised and applied to practice. In other words, the measurements relied on observational learning and reproduction, both of which are essential components of cognitive learning theory (Burke & Mancuso, 2012).
In this regard, the final exercise was the most representative of the applicability of the received knowledge since it required the entirety of the material from the event. According to the cognitive learning theory, it also required the ability to generalise the received knowledge and incorporate the material into the broader picture of thoughts, beliefs, and a multitude of external stimuli (Karimi & Zardosht, 2015). Thus, the assessment was brief, consistent with the used active theory, and produced results of an acceptable degree of accuracy.
Fieldwork Report (Reflection)
Reflection is one of the necessary elements of the learning process. It gives an educator the means to examine the chosen solutions in a systematic manner, isolate the components responsible for the success of the program, and detect inconsistencies and gaps. The following section contains a fieldwork report based on Gibbs’ framework for reflection.
The event in question was an educational event conducted in a GP setting. The event covered the topic of burnout among nurses and aimed to improve the knowledge of basic concepts such as its signs and symptoms, and outline essential means of coping with and prevention of the phenomenon in the field of nursing. The audience consisted entirely of nursing practitioners. I was a teacher and instructor in the event.
The predominant focus was on the use of interactive technologies, discussions, and simulation of the real-life scenarios, with lectures and presentations serving as supplementary strategies. The structure of the exercise stimulated was intended to increase participant involvement and actualise the received information through application to the workplace setting. According to the observations and responses provided by the nurses, the nurses obtained sufficient knowledge for identification and diagnosis of the condition and were able to provide basic advice on ways to cope with the situation. The observed outcome was consistent with my expectations.
At the beginning of the event, I was concentrated on the formal part of the plan. I was concerned with fitting within the planned time frame and paid close attention to the consistency between the predicted and the actual responses of nurses in order to be able to adjust the material whenever necessary. Such concentration made me nervous and distracted me from the learning process. However, the level of engagement demonstrated by the participants improved my self-confidence over time, and by the middle of the event, I was able to incorporate a more encompassing view of the process, which also improved the feeling of control. Once the participants got familiarised with the structure, the pace of the event became more consistent, further improving the output of participating nurses and my perception of the project. Thus, I consider the event successful both as an academic achievement and a contribution to employee efficiency.
From the formal perspective, all of the planned measurements corresponded to the optimistic predictions. In other words, the observations confirmed the fact that all of the objectives were met by the end of the exercise. As an afterthought, however, I admit that I failed to ensure even participation of the audience and it is possible that the stated positive outcome was uneven, which can be considered the event’s biggest flaw.
The event was consistent with the schedule and the formulated learning objectives. I was responsible for the creation of a successful and accurate teaching plan as well as its implementation. All estimates of learners’ prior knowledge, information reception rate, its utilisation, and the increase in learner involvement went in accordance with the plan. I was also able to establish and maintain contact with the audience. The participants were successful in providing the necessary information and actively facilitate discussion. Their knowledge and ability to process information was consistent with the expectations and thus ensured a proper execution of the plan.
On one occasion, their proficiency on the matter exceeded the expected threshold. At the time, no inconsistencies and shortcomings were observed. In hindsight, however, the possibility of the improper evaluation was detected, which suggests the possibility of uneven distribution of knowledge. The said gap is entirely my fault as I did not point out such possibility. The overall success of the exercise, on the other hand, can be attributed both to me (as an educator and author of the teaching plan) and the audience (as both knowledgeable on the subject and receptive to new information).
Considering the information presented above, it is possible to detect several weak points that could be improved in the future. First, teaching plan did not recognise the possibility that some nurses could be more familiar with the topic of burnout than others. As a result, no respective actions were included in the event that would allow mitigating the effects of such situation. Instead, statements from nurses were immediately considered a confirmation of success.
While this situation did not necessarily result in compromised efficiency, it introduced such possibility. The situation could be accounted for by proper acknowledgement and supplementary actions. Second, my inability to control the process at the beginning of the event could have resulted in diluted focus and loss of direction. I attribute it to the lack of experience in the field and expect the situation to improve over time. The involvement demonstrated by the participants, on the other hand, was a major contribution to the success of the outcomes and should be retained in future projects.
Despite several weak points, the described course of actions can be adapted to similar projects in the future without major changes. The most significant adjustments I will likely do will target the uniformity of knowledge acquisitions. Specifically, I will include even participation to the list of success criteria and incorporate several subtle supplementary activities to encourage less active learners to participate. Since the focus on misconceptions and false parallels yielded a significant increase in participation and motivation of learners, I will include such information in the exercises wherever appropriate.
Besides, I will ensure that the exercises follow a recognisable pattern as such approach improved the sense of direction and clarity among the participants. My reported confusion at the beginning of the exercise can probably be safely disregarded – I expect it to decrease over time as I gain more experience. Overall, the teaching plan in question can be considered a reliable template for similar events in the future.
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