• continuing professional development;
  • child care;
  • human capital theory;
  • nursing;
  • health care;
  • education;
  • motivation;
  • financial resources;
  • social investment;
  • British government policy;
  • gender

Child care responsibilities and participation in continuing education and training: issues relating to motivation, funding and domestic roles

Changes in the organization and funding of health services and in the education and training of NHS staff have placed increased influence in the hands of employers and individual students as users of continuing professional development. Against this policy context an interview study was carried out with students participating in a range of continuing professional development activities. The sample included 89 participants attending a range of courses. Approximately half of the sample had children. Many of the participants were attending courses in their own rather than in their employers’ time and several were self-funding. The influence of domestic responsibilities on motivations, along with the impact of course participation on home and family life, were examined. Results revealed that those with children were less likely to perceive continuing education in a positive light compared to those without. The impact of course participation on home and family life was invariably negative and for some the consequences were serious. The policy implications of findings are discussed.