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Confluent education is presented as a method to bridge the gap between cognitive and affective learning. Attention is focused on three main characteristics of confluent education: (a) the integration of four overlapping domains in a learning process (readiness, the cognitive domain, the affective domain and responsibility); (b) the promotion of personal growth and interpersonal relationships by the development of awareness, and (c) the identification and dis-identification of teacher and participants. How confluent education can take place in practice is illustrated by presenting the way in which this method is applied in a nursing continuing education programme entitled ‘Pain assessment and management in surgical-oncological patients’.