Nurses' Attitudes towards Continuing Formal Education: A Comparison by Level of Education and Geography
Repository Posting Date2012-01-11T10:46:28Z
Author(s)Altmann, Tanya K.
Author DetailsTanya K. Altmann, PhD, RN
(41st Biennial Convention) Quality of healthcare is a priority yet registered Nurses (RNs) are the least educated healthcare professional. The IOM report, The Future of Nursing, calls for more Baccalaureate prepared nurses and research has demonstrated that a more educated RN workforce improves quality and patient outcomes by decreasing morbidity, mortality, disciplinary actions, and medication/treatment errors. Many healthcare organization representatives, mission statements, and research priorities support these contentions. Although a number of countries have changed their entry-into-practice standards, the majority of U.S. RNs continue to obtain an Associate Degree or Diploma. Few of these continue their formal education after licensure. Constructive attitudes toward education are motivators and are linked to positive educational outcomes. Thus, it is in the publics' interest to invest more in enticing and enabling RNs to return to school. The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of U.S. RNs, initially registered with an Associate Degree or Diploma, toward continuing formal education; whether these change over time; and if there are geographical differences. Actively licensed RNs were randomly selected to receive mailed questionnaires. The study sample closely resembled the general U.S. nurse population and instrument reliability was excellent. This study supported the role of professional development and advanced education in overall job satisfaction and a link between salary and advanced education. Few RNs felt social pressure to return to school nor did they receive encouragement to continue their eduction during their initial nursing program. Attitudes in all categories rank barely above neutral and did not appear to change over time. The findings in this study suggest that work needs to be done to improve RNs' attitudes toward continuing formal education and research needs to be undertaken to understand what would entice them back to school. Some suggestions for support and improving RNs' attitudes