Lifelong Learning: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study

Lifelong Learning: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study

Author: 
Erin Bennion
Program of study: 
Ph.D./NUR
Abstract: 
Lifelong learning has been established as an essential component of nursing culture, yet there continues to be substantial obstacles to implementing lifelong learning into nursing practice. The research questions were: What are the perceptions of nurses regarding lifelong learning, what experiences describe the nurse's pursuit of lifelong learning, and what theory, grounded in data explains lifelong learning of acute care nurses? The sampling and data collection took place in a southern Utah health care organization and data saturation occurred after 15 interviews. The conceptual base for the study was The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and Association of American Medical College's (AAMC) lifelong learning in medicine and nursing final conference report (2010). A constructivist grounded theory method was chosen and theoretical sampling methods were used to collect the data. Theoretical Sampling and constant comparative analysis were the primary methods of data analysis. The theory that emerged from the data was Confined learning, which is a descriptive theory depicting lifelong learning of acute care nurses. This theory describes how nurses have become dependent upon hospitals for lifelong learning opportunities. Some of these opportunities are provided by the hospital and others were experienced within the hospital and occurred at the patient bedside or by interacting with coworkers. The implications of the research findings expose an over dependence for nurses upon hospital provided learning resources. This overdependence upon a hospital for providing learning opportunities decreases the nurse's opportunities to explore learning resources, become familiar with current research, and develop information literacy.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to opening a new chapter in life. Here’s to simplifying, enjoying, and making life meaningful while spending time with those I love. Life has been a crazy ride; raising kids, working a million jobs, and trying to find what was important. I am so grateful for God’s hand in my life. I have seen how He has guided my life, making it far better than I could have on my own. I will forever be indebted to a Heavenly Father that loves me and watches over me. I have been blessed with an amazingly supportive husband who stands by me constantly telling me that I can do it, pushing me, and letting me know he is proud of me, no matter what the goal has been. I have three beautiful children who have sacrificed a lot so that I could finish my degree. I hope to be the support to them that they have been to me. I am the luckiest girl in the world!
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge Dr. Judith Treschuk. I would not have finished my dissertation without your guidance. Thank you for seeing my potential, requiring the best from me, and having ample patience. You have seen me through happy times and tears and your knowledge, creativity, and experience have been so valuable. Thank you for helping me create something that I am proud of. I would also like to acknowledge my committee members, Dr. Robin McAtee and Dr. Tricia Jenkins. Thank you for your willingness to serve on my committee, for you generous feedback, and positive spirits. Dr. Jenkins, I was inspired by your enthusiasm and kind words during my first year residency. Thank you for seeing be through to the end.