UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Continuing education in a professional nursing association Robinson, Diana Janet


Continuing education for health professionals is a field of adult education that has emerged since World War II. The need for continuing education for Registered Nurses (RNs) has arisen largely as a result of concern over competence. Because of the changes in the nature of nursing practice, the ever increasing amount of knowledge required, and the impact of technology, RNs are required to continue their learning if they are to remain competent. As a result of the increasing demand for continuing education, the number of providers and institutions offering continuing nursing education has expanded. Currently, the professional nursing association is the second largest provider of continuing education, second to educational institutions. This paper describes the development of the continuing education program within a professional association, the Registered Nurses' Association of British Columbia (RNABC). Four questions were used to guide the examination of the historical record of the RNABC from 1912 to the present. Three periods of development were identified, from 1912 to 1940, from 1941 to 1967, and from 1968 to the present. Within each period, three areas were identified, to assist in presentation of events or activities that occurred during each time period: major developments, policy development and governance, and educational activities and services. In Chapter IV, the study questions were used to analyze the development of the RNABC continuing education program in each of the three periods. In Chapter V, a summary of the paper is given, and conclusions and implications of the study are described. Conclusions reached were that the RNABC has always been actively involved in continuing nursing education, however the nature of its involvement has changed over time; that the RNABC has changed and adapted to internal and external events and trends that have influenced its educational program; that the Association has been both proactive and reactive in response to trends and events that affected its educational program; and that the RNABC views continuing education as an integral part of its activities and uses continuing education to achieve its primary purpose, to ensure safe nursing care to the people of British Columbia.

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