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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The adoption of nursing practices by participants in a continuing education programme Shore, Helen Louise


Programmes in continuing education are necessary to help practitioners keep their skills and knowledge current. The purpose of this study was two-fold: to evaluate the effectiveness of a nursing institute as a means of introducing new practices by using the adoption concept as a criterion of measurement, and to determine whether certain characteristics of individual nurses are significantly related to the adoption of practices recommended in a continuing education programme. The population was drawn from 122 nurses who attended the Nursing Assessment Institute held in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 12-14, 1969. Seventy nine participants included in the sample were interviewed. The innovations included six steps in the nursing process, (l) writing a nursing history using a standardized guide form, (2) using the nursing history to formulate objectives for nursing care, (3) devising specific nursing methods to achieve the objectives, (4) evaluating the objectives and methods through the use of progress notes, (5) modifying the objectives and methods in terms of the patient's progress, and (6) preparing a nursing discharge summary. An adoption score was computed for each participant by assigning a score for each reported stage in the adoption process -awareness, interest, evaluation, trial and adoption. Three adoption scores were computed for each participant: the extent to which the recommended practices were in use prior to the study, the extent to which the practices were adopted as a result of learning about them at the institute and the total adoption from all sources. The adoption scores provide a basis for dividing participants into adopter categories ranging from those first to accept an idea or practice to those who are last or never adopt. Certain socio-economic characteristics, age, educational background, community participation, occupational position, years of practice, income, job satisfaction and participation in continuing education were collected about each participant. Interrelationships between the socio-economic characteristics and interrelationships between socio-economic characteristics and adoption scores were computed using zero order and partial correlations and a multiple regression analysis was performed. The adoption concept can be used as a criterion to assess learning that occurs at an institute by measuring the degree to which participants have incorporated into their practice those innovations which have been recommended. The institute on Nursing Assessment produced a considerable total amount of change in the participants, a 581 per cent increase in adoption, and this change seems to have been fairly consistent from person to person within the group. The participants were more prone to adopt the practices when they were relevant to their present nursing activities. The adopter categories showed the following percentages: innovator 1.27, early adopter 11.39, early majority 36.71, late majority 37.98, and laggard 12.66. Although previous research suggests a variety of characteristics which have been associated with the acceptance of new ideas, this study found education and occupational position to be the only characteristics that were significant at the .05 level. A significant coefficient of determination showed that some 30 per cent of the variation could be explained by these two variables.

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