Workplace learning - a missed opportunity?
28 June 2016
Dr Theresa Shaw, CEO FoNS
I recently had the pleasure of attending the inaugural lecture by Professor Jan Dewing, the first Sue Pembrey Chair in Nursing at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh. The title of her lecture ‘Workplace Learning in Nursing: leading at the edge’, could not be more timely and important for contemporary practice. In the midst of the drive to be more efficient whilst enhancing quality, the opportunity that learning through and in practice creates continues to be overlooked. With this in mind, it was great to see some of her messages reach out more widely with a headlining news item in the Nursing Times today:
The article mentions the growing evidence from Practice Development work led by QMU and others including FoNS and so I can’t resist the opportunity to highlight some of the resources we produced last year to help nurses and others think about the opportunities for learning from practice.
There are a variety of opportunities to access training and education within health and social care; however, many of these are pre-planned by others and often focus on the development of knowledge and skills. It is also not unusual for them to take place away from the workplace. Whilst as Jan indicated in her lecture, these opportunities have a place for the development of competencies for example, the nature of these approaches may mean that the learning tends to be more general and not specific to the needs of individual staff and the context within which they are working. This can make it more difficult for staff to translate what they have learnt into their everyday practice and therefore reduce the chance of any impact on or change to practice.
The workplace or practice setting wherever this maybe, makes a great classroom. Using opportunities arising from everyday practice can make the learning more specific to individuals and teams, and to the context within which they are working – perhaps helping people to connect emotionally with the learning