Learning Needs Assessment: Comparison of Perceived Learning Needs of Registered Nurses Based on Age and Shift Type

Student Author(s)

Katherine Bird

Faculty Mentor(s)

Joshua Meringa, MPA, MHA, BSN, RN, BC, ONC, and Vicki Voskuil, PhDc), RN, CPNP

Document Type


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Studies have examined various learning needs of Registered Nurses (RNs) to improve their continuing education. However, learning needs based on age and shift types have not been closely examined. Shift types tend to be segregated based on age due to more experienced RNs working day shifts. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between self-identified learning needs of Direct-Care RNs in three major categories (Interdisciplinary Team, Professional Issues, and Client Care) and age categories and shift types. Benner’s Stages of Clinical Competence theory was used to guide the research. This theory explains that through acquisition and development of skills, RNs pass through five levels of proficiency from novice to expert. An electronic survey sent out to all RNs at a large tertiary care hospital in the Midwest gathered information from 654 Direct-Care RNs. Of this sample, 61% were on day shifts, 6.4% on evening shifts, 28% on night shifts, 0.6% on weekends only, and 4% on rotating shifts. Data were entered into SPSSv.22 and a one-way ANOVA test was conducted. Results indicated no significant effect of shift type on learning needs and a significant effect (p< 0.05) of age on learning needs in two categories; Interdisciplinary Team [F(6, 647)=2.723, p=.013] and Client Care [F(6, 647)=4.037, p=.001]. Results from the post hoc analysis using the Bonferroni procedure indicated a significant mean difference (.289, p=.029) between 20-29 year olds and 50-59 year olds for the Interdisciplinary Team category and a significant difference for the Client Care category between the 20-29 year olds and two age range categories: 30-39 year olds (.251, p=.029) and 40-49 years old (.321, p=.011). Using these results, educational programs could be tailored to different age groups. Limitations include the potential for self-report bias and lack of generalizability due to results from RNs at only one hospital system.

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