• Professional learning;
  • organizational learning;
  • action research;
  • practice development;
  • nursing health care

Professional and organizational learning: analysing the relationship with the development of practice

Background. Organizational and professional learning are interrelated processes that underpin the contemporary drive for a quality evidence-based delivery of health care in the United Kingdom (UK).

Design. A soft systems methodology was used to explore the pervasiveness of practice developments. Three case study sites were identified using matrix sampling and data collected through 29 individual interviews and two focus group interviews, with the interviews augmented with a tool designed to maximize analysis of the processes of developing practice.

Findings. The resultant model of developing health care practice includes three processes: using and creating knowledge, understanding and practice of patient care, and effecting development. The whole model was underpinned by professional and organizational learning in which `expert thinkers' engaged in double loop learning to reconceptualize care rather than just perpetuate existing patterns of care delivery.