How Nurses Experience Their Work as a Learning Environment
TypeJournal article; Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
This article explores and illuminates the meaning of nurses’ experiences with their work as a learning environment. A qualitative hermeneutic approach guided the research process and the analysis and interpretation of the transcribed interview-texts of eleven graduate nurses. Three core themes emerged from these informants’ descriptions of their work as a learning environment: ‘participation in the work community’, ‘to engage in interpersonal relations’ and ‘accessing important knowledge resources’. The study found that, for these informants, an understanding of work as a learning environment is connected to how the nurses elect to engage in their workplaces and how the workplaces regulate their participation in activities and interpersonal relations. The nurses were aware of their responsibilities for continuous learning at work, and to confirm, create and develop their practical and professional knowledge, they obtained support from knowledgeable co-workers and chose among accessible knowledge resources in their particular workplaces. Concurrently, workplace characteristics such as the community of workers, hierarchical structures, cultural practices, and personal relations influenced learning. This understanding of the learning environment in particular workplaces shows the importance of focusing on learning processes as part of professional development in an ever-changing health care system.