The objective of this work is to investigate an issue or trend that is going to impact nursing education significantly in the years to come. For the purpose of this work in writing the issue of distance education has been chosen.
The work of Affara (nd) entitled “Global Trends and Issues in Nursing Education” reports that the global shortage of nurses is different from the shortage experienced in the past in that “today’s health care systems are suffering from pressures exerted on both supply and demand.” (p.3) Affara and Styles (1992) state that the task of human resources planning development and management is to “ensure the presence of the right nurse with the right qualification at the right role at the right time in the right place with the proper authority and appropriate recognition.” (cited in Affara, nd, p.4) Reiners (2005) reports that the critical nursing shortage is “compounded by a lack of nursing faculty and student access to nursing educational programs.
I. Distance Education Programs
Distance education programs may assist in alleviating the nursing shortage.” (p.1) Baumann and Blythe (2008) report that the demand for higher education “has increased worldwide and the response has been an impressive expansion of educational offerings both within and across countries.” (p.1) Additionally reported by Baumann and Blythe (2008) is that evolving technologies “â€¦are transforming both the formal and informal acquisition of knowledge. Information is accessible electronically; and people with common interests, e.g., students, researchers, and innovators, exchange knowledge freely via the Internet. The development of a knowledge economy has made intellectual capital a valuable possession.” (p.1)
Technology is reported to be “â€¦revolutionizing the design, delivery, and evaluation of nursing education.” (Jeffries, 2005, p.1) Technological incorporation in to programs of nursing education results in new challenges for nurse educators in regards to “development, implementation, and testing.” Jeffries, 2005, p.1) The challenges of educating nursing students will include those associated with the use of technology, as technology is the enabler of distance education. Therefore, the combination of technological challenges and distance education challenges are such that go hand-in-hand in the endeavor to provide student nurses with the best possible learning experience which enables them to develop their knowledge and hone their nursing skills. Reiners (2005) reports that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (1999) reported “â€¦that financial investment in technology, infrastructure, and faculty development are essential factors for superior nursing distance education programs.” (p.6)
Summary and Conclusion
The challenges faced by the nursing educator in the future are inherently linked to distance education and technology issues because distance education enabled by technology holds the key to educating enough individuals to fill the nursing role to meet the nursing shortage which is not abating but only expanding rapidly. Required as noted by the American Association of College of Nursing will be investment in the necessary technology, infrastructure and development of faculty to ensure that distance education programs are characterized by excellence and as such that enable adept individuals to enter the field of nursing successfully. The challenges associated with distance education and the accompanying requirements of technology should not be feared by the nursing educator but instead should be viewed as an exciting challenge with the potential to solve the current nursing shortage.
Affara, Fadwa (nd) Global Trends and Issues in Nursing Education. Retrieved from: http://www.dbfk.de/download/download/TrendsIssuesNursEducation.pdf
Baumann, A. And Blythe, J. (2008) Globalization of Higher Education in Nursing. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 13, 2008. Retrieved from: http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/vol132008/No2May08/GlobalizationofHigherEducation.html
Jeffries, Pamela R. (2005) Technology Trends in Nursing Education: Next Steps. Jan 2005. Journal of Nursing Education.
Reiners, Gina (2005) Nursing Distance Education. A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements of ED7212 Administration and Leadership of Distance Education Programs. 5 Dec 2005. Retrieved from: http://www.decadeconsulting.com/decade/papers/Reiners.pdf