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A survey of resources for continuing education in nursing in northeastern Ontario Reid, Una Viviene

Abstract

This descriptive study focuses on resources for continuing education in nursing in Northeastern Ontario. Technological and scientific changes in health care delivery make It imperative for nurses to keep abreast of new knowledge in their area of work. The obligations of effective performance, which are both expected and increasingly demanded by regulatory agencies and the public, can only be met- through systematic continuous learning in the art and science of the profession. A program of continuing education in an appropriate setting is essential for nurses to maintain satisfactory standards of performance. The present study is concerned with the establishment of such a program for nurses in Northeastern Ontario within the framework of a regional plan. The purposes of the study are to identify available resources for continuing education in nursing in Northeastern Ontario, and analyze the identified resources in terms of their potential contribution to an overall regional plan of continuing education. Some simplifying assumptions with respect to the goals and needs of continuing education in nursing are made to facilitate subsequent analysis. An extensive literature review supports the approach of establishing a program of continuing education in nursing on a regional basis. On this basis, a suggested plan of organization of continuing education in nursing in Northeastern Ontario is appended to the study, its aim being to facilitate regional planning. Available resources for a program of continuing education in nursing in Northeastern Ontario were identified using the descriptive survey research method. Mail questionnaires of the mixed type served as the basic instrument for data collection. The questionnaires were developed around three main categories of resources—human and physical resources, and educational materials. For convenience, it was decided to carry out the survey based on the administrative districts of the Region. The subjects surveyed included institutions, agencies and professional associations which are considered potential resources for a program of continuing education in nursing: in Northeastern Ontario. The sample elements for the survey were hospitals, public health units, voluntary agencies, radio and television stations, educational institutions, public libraries and professional associations. A descriptive analysis of the data collected centred around the categories of resources both at the regional and district level. A directory of the available resources in the Region is also appended to the study. The data were obtained from 54 completed questionnaires returned by respondents out of the 75 contacted. Based on the 72 per cent response result, the major finding of the survey is that human and physical resources and educational materials for continuing education in nursing in Northeastern Ontario on a regional basis are inadequate in terms of number of institutions or agencies which possess such resources. An overall assessment of the adequacy of the resources indicated that disparity exists between districts in all currently available resources. Within districts availability of resources also varies. Some districts are without certain categories of resources. The survey also reveals that there is a high level of interest (91 per cent of respondents) in continuing education in nursing within the Region. An overall plan of continuing education in nursing must pay special attention to filling these inadequacies in order to ensure an effective program. The writer acknowledges the limitations of the. study and no attempt is made to generalize the results beyond the Region of Northeastern Ontario. Finally, the study concludes with recommendations.

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