Gap between Nursing Education and Nursing Practice – Care Example

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"Gap between Nursing Education and Nursing Practice" is a marvelous example of a paper on care. Matching nursing education with the reality of the practice is a current problem faced by members of the nursing profession since there is a big gap between the two. However, all nurses inevitably, encounter the gap at various times in their profession it is more common among fresh graduates and student nurses. The fresh graduates and student nurses encounter the gap when they try to apply the concepts learned in school to real-life situations only to find that the practices are different from what learned. The nursing curriculum lays a lot of emphasis on theories that are important for a student to develop a better understanding of nursing and to be fully prepared to work in different clinical scenarios.

The challenge with this form of the curriculum is that the theoretical work taught is different from the clinical scenario on the ground hence there is only a small application of the information acquired. This is mainly because the methods and techniques presented by this theoretical work are mostly outdated and thus not relevant in handling the current situation effectively.

Furthermore, in most workplaces, there is a culture of ignoring the right procedures employed in nursing by the so-called experienced workers who think they are all knowledgeable. When new nurses come in and try to apply the latest based evidence research and other new procedures they are thus discouraged by the old staff since they are normally resistant to change. The resistance is probably out of a feeling of job insecurity among the old workers since they usually lack the modern skills hence they end up viewing the new workers as a threat to their jobs.

This tendency creates a gap between nursing education and the clinical practice hence making it difficult for new nurses to fit in the workplace. Theory in nursing is supposed to be interpreted in its scientific context, which defines it as a systematic set of interrelated concepts, definitions, and deductions that explain, describe, or predict interrelationships among various factors. The approach of theory and research in nursing is thus different from the similar approaches in other fields especially the ones that are related to natural science such as physics and chemistry.

Theory and research in nursing in the past have tried to emulate the approaches used by natural sciences in their endeavor to acquire more knowledge concerning different relevant aspects. Due to the continual use of such approaches in nursing over a long time, many researches in the field of nursing have come to accept these practices without recognizing the fact that they are not the right ones. The paradigm shift has resulted in adverse effects on nursing since this kind of approach usually differentiates between the researchers and the different people who enact the theory.

As result theorists in nursing have been separated from the practitioners hence making research purely work for theorist while the practitioners have been made to be merely implementers of the theory with no role to play in researching. According to the approach, procedures conducted under similar conditions ought to give similar results but this is not true in nursing since people are different and they can thus not be expected to behave in a similar way.

Therefore, theories in nursing are not supposed to be accepted with certainty as advocated by this approach despite the evidence of compatible data (Basford & Slevin, 2003).   This has served to widen the gap between nursing education and practice since it becomes difficult for nurses to apply in real-life situation concepts they have not played part in researching them. Majority of the tertiary institutions responsible for theoretical input lack accurate evidence-based teaching that reflect the current clinical environment according to a recent study. This is because of the lack of enough financial resources to acquire the most efficient clinical tools and employ well-qualified personnel who are fully equipped with the current information.

The institutions thus find it costly to acquire these resources and since they cannot operate on losses they end up using these inefficient resources. In addition, the tendency has been attributed to the negligence of the management of the different tertiary institutions that fail to recognize the importance of equipping their learners with the right information (Callara, 2008). The system of education lays a lot of emphasis on classwork excellence since it presents the notion that passing exams is the main duty of a learner and as long as a student has passed exams he is regarded to be fit for any clinical work.

This is a negative trend since the mere fact that one has excelled in examinations does not mean that the person is fully equipped to engage in nursing practices. The learners, therefore, face a lot of pressure either directly or indirectly to meet this academic standard from their parents, teachers, and generally the entire community.

When they are unable to meet this requirement effectively, they turn to other unproductive methods of learning such as cramming, sometimes copying from their friends, and other illegal methods of passing the exams. When such learners manage to pass examinations through these detrimental methods, it becomes difficult for them to maintain the knowledge they have. It thus becomes a challenge for them to fit in the workplace because of the gap between the education they have and the requirements of real-life clinical scenarios.   The government has failed in its responsibility of streamlining the nursing sector to be fully accommodating to new practitioners in order to ensure there is the delivery of good health services to its citizens.

It has failed to enact the right measures to ensure that all concerned stakeholders fully comply with the various standards that are outlined in the law regarding the operation of the health sector. As a result, inefficiencies have prevailed in the different activities of the various nursing stakeholders and especially to those concerned either directly or indirectly in imparting knowledge to the nurses.

The government has also failed inadequately supporting the stakeholders to offer better services through such activities as funding some of their programs, rewarding the institutions that perform well, and creating enough clinical facilities among others. The government has also not been very vigilant in providing the stakeholders with the right information that is relevant for their effective functioning and thus contributing to the inefficiencies that have resulted in the mismatch between nursing education and practice (Shulman, Leonard, Benner, Sutphen & Day, 2013). Recent research conducted on the match between nursing education and the practice in real-life situations revealed that most nurses believe that there is a wide gap between the two.

One out of every four nurses interviewed agreed that the wide gap between nursing education and nursing practice is a common issue in almost all health sectors worldwide (Ondrejka, 2014). They further admitted that they have faced difficulties several times in their profession in applying the education and expressed their frustration on a trend that has persisted for a long time. The majority of these nurses believe that the situation has not changed much despite various measures that have been enacted by concerned authorities to rectify the situation in the past.

This is because the measures have not been fully involving all the concerned authorities and hence there is a need for all-inclusive measures to be enacted. Many of the health practitioners in various hospitals and other health organizations are not able to handle different clinical scenarios correctly despite the education they possess. There have been cases in the past where nurses have responded to patients in completely wrong ways like administering drugs that worsen their situation instead of improving it.

Some nurses have also resulted in the death of patients because of their wrong actions that are because of ignorance. These malpractices show the mismatch that exists between the education offered in learning institutions and the requirements of real-life nursing experiences (Hardy, Titchen, Manley & McCormack, 2009). In addition, when nurses increase their knowledge through programs that are presented by institutions of higher learning, their added education results in very small differences if any, in the way they respond to various nursing activities.

This further depicts the failure of the education system in imparting the right skills and knowledge that are relevant in the day-to-day life of a nursing practitioner and thus implying that the education system is not adequate. It is evident that a wide gap between the educations presented to health practitioners and the real-life situations they encounter as they engage in nursing practice. It is therefore important to come up with measures that will bridge this gap and thus lead to harmony between nursing education and the practice.

The measures need to involve all relevant stakeholders such as the government, the nurses, health organizations, and generally all groups of people who are associated with nursing in order to be successful.


Basford, L., & Slevin, O. (2003). Theory and practice of nursing: An integrated approach to patient care. Cheltenham, U.K: Nelson Thornes.

Callara, L. R. (2008). Nursing education challenges in the 21st century. New York: Nova Science Pub.

Hardy, S., Titchen, A., Manley, K., & McCormack, B. (2009). Revealing Nursing Expertise Through Practitioner Inquiry. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Ondrejka, D. (2014). Affective teaching in nursing: Connecting to feelings, values, and inner awareness. New York, NY: Springer Pub. Co.

Shulman, L. S., Leonard, V., Benner, P., Sutphen, M., & Day, L. (2013). Educating nurses: A call for radical transformation. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.

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