Skip to main content

Professional Learning In Nursing

Professional Learning In Nursing

Jenny Spouse

ISBN: 978-1-405-14752-1

Apr 2008, Wiley-Blackwell

256 pages



The way nurses are taught is constantly evolving and changing. Workplace learning is seen as key to developing practitioners. In this book Jenny Spouse discusses how students learn in a range of different clinical settings and how best to facilitate this process.

How do students learn to become nurses? What knowledge and understanding do they need to acquire? How do their preconceptions, beliefs about the learning process, and social needs affect their development? What do they find helpful and unhelpful? What makes clinical settings good for learning? Is it helpful for students to document their learning? What are the best ways for lecturer/ practitioners to facilitate student learning and what other factors influence their progress?

The book explores how professional development can be better understood, following the progress of six nurse learners drawn from different parts of nursing and investigating both those difficulties faced by all students and those issues unique to particular students. It places these narratives in the context of nurse education today, exploring the implications of 'Fitness for practice' and 'Making a difference', and looking at the implications for the future development, organisation and funding of nurse education.



1. Introducing Professional Learning in Nursing.

1.1Nurse education 1971-1989.

1.2 Reforming nurse education.

1.3Organisation of the book.


2. Researching Nurses' Professional Learning.

2.1 The context of the research.

2.2 The curriculum.

2.3 The research design.

2.4 The research participants.

2.5 Data collection.

2.6 Analysing the data.


Quality assurance activities.


3. Case Studies of Professional Development.

3.1 Helen.

3.2 Marie.

3.3 Nicola.

3.4 Jack.

3.5 Grace.

3.6 Ruth.


4. Being a Nurse.

4.1 Images of being a nurse.

4.2 Caring and Intimacy.


5. Feeling Like a Nurse.

5.1 The nature of socialisation.

5.2 Disconfirmation.

5.3 Confusion.

5.4 Impression management.

5.5 Equilibrium.

5.6 Feeling and acting like a nurse.


6. Learning to be a Professional.

6.1 Learning to relate to patients and their careers.

6.2 Developing technical knowledge.

6.3 Learning to bundle nursing activities together.

6.4 Developing professional craft knowledge.

6.5 Learning to manage feelings and emotions.

6.6 Learning to cope with ethical dilemmas.

6.7 Developing the essence of nursing and therapeutic action.

6.8 Developing interprofessional relationships.

6.9 Developing professional knowledge.


7. Supporting Professional Development.

7.1 breaking through.

7.2 Mentorship.

7.3 Explaining good mentorship.

7.4 Learning by flying solo.

7.5 Learning through story-telling.

7.6 Learning through assessment of theory and practice.

7.7 Students' professional development.


8. Enhancing Nurses' Professional Learning.

8.1 Conceptualising nurse education.

8.2 Researching nurses' professional learning.

8.3 Curriculum issues.

8.4 Conceptualising mentorship in nurse education.

8.5 Research and the future professional development of nurses.



· looks at nurse education in the context of recent changes in the way nurses are prepared for registration

· explores learning and professional development in work-settings

· examines student learning and personal development based on case studies

· explores best practice in teaching, mentoring and assessing and implications for nursing education

· includes critical and reflective analysis and key references to the primary literature.