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Conceptualisation of the dynamic nature of continued professional learning

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  • Rt Nursing
  • L Education (General)


Little attention had been paid to the process of continued professional learning (CPL) of nurses once qualified,in terms of how they plan, organise and continue to learn in their professional career. The manner in which nurses’ learning experiences and orientations change over time, once qualified, was particularly noted to be lacking in the literature. Thus, this paper draws on a study that addressed the CPL of newly qualified nurses. A conceptualisation of the dynamic nature of these nurses’ CPL will thus be presented, from their perspectives during the first two years of registered practice in the UK. The findings indicate how their engagement in professional learning activities went through eight clearly identified stages. The sequence portrays a linear, multi-stage developmental learning continuum, which illustrates the manner in which they chose, planned, organized and attempted to make sense of what they were learning. It is argued that such insights into the nature of professional learning can be useful for both under- and post- graduate curriculum development. Furthermore, gaining an understanding of the fundamentals of CPL should underpin contemporary Higher Education curricula in order to respond to professional concerns about the theory and practice gap and the necessity for professionals to continue to learn throughout their working lives. Thus, such an approach goes beyond achievements at the end of a professional course and would consequently reflect an ethos of lifelong learning, crucial to respective professionals.

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