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Self Directed Learning in Nursing

Info: 1287 words (5 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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Self-directed learning is important for the ongoing professional education for nurses. In its broadest meaning, “self-directed learning” (SDL) Explains a process by which individuals take the initiative, with or without the assistance of others, in analyzing and identifying their learning needs, creating learning goals, recognizing human and material educational resources, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies and evaluating learning outcomes. (M. Knowles, Principles of Androgogy, 1972). This is the reason that positive outcome for nurses to being self-regulated. This paper will argue that motivating nurse to be self-directed, plays an essential role in improving professional self-regulation in nursing education and the positive responses to motivational factors in accordance to self-directed learning.


Nurses within the current health profession and education need motivation to be self-directed. Students are often motivated by a wide range of factors. According to statistical data evidently shown from Julie A. Regan has stated in response to students that motivation to SDL, student responded to 19 different aspects of statements about what motivates them towards self-directed learning (refer to appendix). The most outstanding result was that 100% (a quarter of 97%) of student respondents agreed that a good lecture motivated them to direct their own learning. This level of agreement was also redirected in the focus groups but it is acknowledged that students mentioned to any form of classroom activity as a lecture. Students in the focus groups were motivated by different factors, at different times and in different areas of the curriculum. Negative responses to motivational factors in regards to table 1, indicates a low level of disagreement with the motivation identified by the focus groups. Thirty percent of students disagreed that strict tutors motivated them, which represents the highest level of disagreement. As only a small number of students had agreed with these statements, it may be argued that most were doubtful or misunderstood. This evidence applies to the level of motivation required, especially within the health care profession.

Body 1

Motivation in relevance to self-directed learning is vital to nurses in order to overcome some difficult aspects of independent self-regulation. Two studies were conducted to prove that motivation is the key for student nurses to exceed. Student nurses were seeking feedback from their teachers but were unable to get good feedback, so it became upsetting and put more stress on students. Motivation is acknowledged as one of the most significant psychological concepts in education (Julie A. Regan, 2003, p.593–599) because of its well-established relationship to learning and performance outcomes, motivation in education has become of great interest to researchers (Julie A. Regan). Student centered approaches to teaching and learning are increasingly being adopted in nurse education and there is pressure to deliver programs with reduced classroom contact (Kenny & Kendall, 2001, p. 648). It considers challenges to ensure new courses accommodate these approaches, at the same time as promoting student motivation. Student motivation needs to be more advanced if teachers are attending to students but all that is required is to attend, not necessarily to participate or interact in any way. Therefore motivating students is part of the tutor’s role if they choose to adopt student-centered approaches to teaching and learning. (Entwistle, 1998) Traditionally this has not been the case and that motivation has been thought of as the responsibility of the student. It is suggested that this was the case in nurse education when it was assumed that such a ‘vocation’ would only attract self-motivated students. If this ever was the case, it is certainly not so today. Related studies prove that although two studies were published in 2001 which examined students perspectives of SDL, neither looked specifically at motivation in relation to SDL (Lunyk-Child et al. 2001; Hewitt-Taylor 2001). However, both studies found that a lack of specific guidance and feedback was frustrating for students and caused anxiety and distress. Students also found the inconsistency amongst tutors regarding the level of input they were willing to give in relation to SDL frustrating (Lunyk-Child et al. 2001; Hewitt-Taylor 2001). Feelings of frustration, anger and anxiety could affect motivation.


In nursing self-regulation is important because a major function of education is the development of lifelong learning skills. After graduation from high school or college, young adults must learn many important skills informally. It is emphasizing the independence as well as it can be control by the individual who displays regulates actions toward goals of information acquisition, increasing skill, and self-improvement (Zimmerman, B.J. (2008). In particular in Nursing, self-regulated learners are aware of their academic weaknesses, strengths and they have a list of strategies as well as it can be properly apply to challenge the day-to-day tackle of academic tasks. In addition these learners hold incremental beliefs about intelligence and attribute their successes or failures to factors in their control (Zimmerman, B.J. (2008).Nurses need to have beliefs about intelligence and attribute because they can apply it upon demand and relate to tasks, becoming a self-regulated learner. It is successful because nurses can control their environment. They use this control by regulating their own actions toward their learning goals.

http://buddymurr.edublogs.org/files/2009/05/adlt-601-best-work.pdf Self-directed learning readiness and nursing Body 3:

Self-direct learning signify a readiness to learning ways to confront solve the problem in nursing environment. The result of these studies provides details which are relevant outfits for educator in human resources workers. “Learning readiness discusses to how likely a person is to seek out knowledge and participate in behavior change. Individuals go through various stages in order to adopt or maintain anew health behavior. In the pre-contemplative stage, the person is generally not aware of a problem or not ready to act. In the contemplative stage, the person is thinking about a change, but is not yet taking action. In the action stage, the person adopts a behavior change and is practicing it. In the maintenance stage, the person retains the new behavior as a result of reinforcement. “(Nacho ben2012)


As Zimmerman, B.J. (2008) has stated there are three important characteristics of self-regulated learning a nurse should have

http://www.ifeet.org/motivation_in_nursing_management.html http://buddymurr.edublogs.org/files/2009/05/adlt-601-best-work.pdf


Zimmerman, B.J. (2008), Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning: Theory, Research, and Application (pp. 297–314). New York, NY: Routledge.


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