Nursing education and training is being questioned as the debate continues what is the most effective way to prepare nurses for the demands of the 21st Century (Newland, 2008). The article by Roberta J. Emerson, On Becoming a Nurse presents
The Education Debate
Nursing is an active profession that continues to change and grow. (Francis, 2008). The history of nursing is extensive and has therefore significantly influenced nursing preparation over time and the current form of the profession today. Therefore it comes as no surprise that in recent times, the way in which today’s nurses are prepared has been heavily focused on in Australia (Francis, 2008). As a result nursing education and training is being questioned as the debate continues what is the most effective way to prepare nurses for the demands of the 21st Century (Newland, 2008). The article by Roberta J. Emerson, ‘On Becoming a Nurse’ presents a number of arguments towards the debate. Arguments from the article include; why training nurses is no long appropriate, why the terms education and training are not the same and why education prepares nurses for the 21st century more efficiently than training. In light of this information, this essay will argue the main reasons as to why education better prepares nurses for the demands of the 21st century when compared to training.
Today, people generally enter a workplace either educated or trained. Consequently in nursing there is an ongoing dispute as to whether education or training better prepares nurses (Newland, 2008). Education and training have two different meanings and therefore develop nurses in different ways. It is evident, however, that the knowledge and competencies of nurses are a result of education (Rosseter, 2012). As the role of a nurse encompasses many qualities, abilities and skills; nurses are responsible for assuring patients receive an exceedingly high standard of care which is achieved through the use of knowledge and thus education (Vallano, 2006). There is significant, research and data supporting the preparation of nurses through educatios. Firstly, one study found that nurses who undertook education at a bachelor level have better communication and problem solving skills (Johnson, 1988) and also a higher aptitude in their ability to evaluate and diagnose patients (Giger & Davidhizar, 1990). Secondly, a further research also shows that nurses who are prepared at the university education level develop stronger professional-level skills after completion. Thirdly, another study of nurse graduates showed, students demonstrated higher proficiency in nursing practice, communication, leadership, the integration of professionalism, and research (Phillips, et al., 2002). Lastly, data also shows that different health care services have better patient outcomes and significantly lower mortality rates when they have a staff of highly educated nurses. Additionally, the education of nurses has enabled nursing to achieve a long awaited accomplishment of becoming an established profession and a vital component of health services today (Gebbie, 2009). To maintain this profession, nurses must be educated. Education has also been seen to develop what training cannot.
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Education better prepares nurses as it enables nurses to develop knowledge, qualities and skills that provide patients with optimum care, which training cannot provide. Nurses cannot be trained to communicate well nor can they be trained to feel or be compassionate towards caring for patients, it requires education. This is evident in a number of different ways. Firstly, education enables nurses to be effective in giving patients compassionate and effective care, compared to nurses who were prepared in the tyrannical leadership training of the past (Bartels, 2005). Secondly, nurses are required to be patient and tolerant with not only patients but also fellow colleagues as well possess communication skills of a critically high standard (McKinnon, 2009). Thirdly, evidence shows that nursing at an education level is a significant factor in delivering safe and excellent care to patients (Rosseter, 2012). In addition, today nurses are also expected to have a deep understanding of anatomy and physiology and an extensive list of different procedures and treatments available to patients (Vallano, 2006). For nurses to gain such knowledge they need to be educated; as it is education and not training that allows nurses to acquire knowledge in an orderly manner (Newland, 2008). Lastly, Shields and Pratt (2003) state that nurses who have graduated from university are highly educated and informed and are much more competent in a number of different qualities such as; critical thinking, problem solving and decision making than nurses who underwent the outdated approach of training. As all of these qualities, abilities and skills are vital for nursing; and education develops and nurtures these whereas training programs do not (Newland, 2008). The importance of education in nursing is also vital for the 21st Century.
Dramatic changes in health care and an ever changing society is resulting in nursing becoming more and more complex which require nurses to be educated to meet the demands. Research suggests that nurses with University degrees are much better prepared to meet the demands placed upon nurses today (Rosseter, 2012). Nurses are required to deal with an aging population, growing diversity, biomedical advances, expanding research, changing health care needs of populations and an increased knowledge of the public; all call for a more educated, skilled, knowledgeable and qualified nurse (Bartels, 2005; Francis, 2008) and thus a higher academic background (Bartels, 2005). To face the demands of the 21st century, it is vital for nurses to be qualified and qualification today is achieved through education (McKinnon, 2009). In addition, education better prepares nurses, due to increasing knowledge and advanced technology within the health care system, education changes its curriculum to meet these demands (Masters, 2009, p 308). Therefore, education reflects the changing health needs of the society (McKinnon, 2009). It is clearly evident that education results in the development of better prepared nurses and that education will persist in incorporating what is deemed valuable in the nursing profession (Crotty, 1993).
Therefore, it is clearly evident that education better prepares nurses for the 21st Century and beyond for the reasons that education develops the knowledge base nurses need to expand continually, that education develops a number of qualities, skills and abilities that training cannot provide nurses with and education is continually changing to prepares nurses for the ever changing society and health care system. It is therefore conclusive that education has been supported wholly in that it better prepares nurses for 21st century and into the future.
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