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Continuing professional development: investment or expectation?


Pauline Joyce
School of Healthcare Management
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
120 St Stephens’ Green
Dublin 2


Aim  The aim of this study was to explore the reason for nurses’ participation in postregistration education.

Background  The study was located in one third level institution in Ireland and prospective candidates who applied to undertake a programme of studies were invited to complete the postal questionnaire and return it to the college anonymously in advance of commencing their studies.

Method  A descriptive survey research design was adopted with the use of a questionnaire for data collection. The respondents had an opportunity to make additional comments in a questionnaire, which generated some qualitative data.

Results  A total of 243 questionnaires were returned which represented a 46.7% response rate. The major reasons for participating in postregistration education were ‘to obtain promotion to a higher grade/position’ (99%) and ‘to enable me extend my clinical role’ (98%).

Conclusion  Investment in nursing education should take into account the reasons for participation in continuing education and professional development as identified in this study and in other studies so as to focus efforts that improve planning for long-term continuing education and professional development. The adoption of such a strategic approach by employers will ensure more precise targeting of scarce continuing education and professional development resources. Equally, expectation without adequate investment is not realistic if the profession wants to move forward in this era of rapid change in the delivery of health care.