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Keywords:

  • aged care;
  • facilitation;
  • staff development;
  • teamwork

Aims and objectives

To explore the impact of an educational programme focused on social behaviours and relationships on organisational learning culture in the residential aged care context.

Background

The number of aged care homes will continue to rise as the frail older elderly live longer, requiring more formal care and support. As with other small- to medium-sized health services, aged care homes are faced with the challenge of continuous development of the workforce and depend upon registered nurses to lead staff development.

Design

A mixed-method evaluation research design was used to determine the impact of an educational programme focused on social aspects of learning on organisational learning culture.

Methods

One hundred and fifty-nine (pre) and 143 (post) participants from three aged care homes completed the Clinical Learning Organisational Culture survey, and three participant-researcher registered nurse clinical educators provided regular journal entries for review.

Results

While each site received the same educational programme over a six-month period, the change in organisational learning culture at each site was notably different. Two aged care homes had significant improvements in affiliation, one in accomplishment and one in recognition. The educators' journals differed in the types of learning observed and interventions undertaken, with Eucalyptus focused on organisational change, Grevillea focused on group (student) change and the Wattle focused on individual or situational change.

Conclusion

Clinical educator activities appear to have a significant effect on organisational learning culture, with a focus on the organisational level having the greatest positive effect on learning culture and on individual or situational level having a limited effect.

Relevance to clinical practice

Clinical educator facilitation that is focused on organisational rather than individual interests may offer a key to improving organisational learning culture.