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Everywhere and Nowhere: work-based learning in healthcare education

Attenborough, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4018-8445, Abbott, S., Brook, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-8867-0150 & Knight, R.-A. ORCID: 0000-0002-7804-7250 (2019). Everywhere and Nowhere: work-based learning in healthcare education. Nurse Education in Practice, doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2019.03.004


The shortage of healthcare professions is a global issue, which has highlighted the need to establish effective practice learning. In 2015 the UK government introduced a change to the way that healthcare education is funded. A subsequent fall in applications to healthcare programmes and high levels of vacancies across the sector in the UK have led to widespread concern about workforce shortages, especially nurses. Subsequently, initiatives that both address the shortage and aim to bridge the gap between registered nurse and healthcare support worker have been introduced, presenting opportunities to further develop the clinical workplace as a learning environment for employees.

A sample of nine healthcare professionals was recruited; seven nurses and two allied health professionals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted between March and June 2018. These were recorded verbatim, transcribed and thematically analysed.

Respondents identified opportunities for work-based learning and factors for success. The importance of an effective learning culture, commitment to work-based learning and time were identified as factors for success. Despite the richness of learning opportunities in healthcare, respondents identified challenges for both learners and supervisors in identifying these opportunities in the workplace. These findings have immediate relevance to healthcare education systems internationally.

Areas for future research include the relationship between supervisor and learner and further insight into why the busiest areas might be identified as more effective learning environments.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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