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Nurse Educ Today. 2007 Jul;27(5):466-73. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

Continuing education in nursing: a concept analysis.

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Stewarts Hospital Services Ltd., Palmerstown, Dublin 20, Ireland.


The importance of continuing education for nurses has been increasingly emphasized in the nursing literature since the beginning of the profession. The concept of continuing education is often used as a substitute for associated terms such as continuing professional development and lifelong learning, thus highlighting a need for its clarification. The purpose of this article is to explain and describe continuing education, in order to encourage a broader understanding of the concept among nurses. The concept analysis is directed by Rodgers' [Rodgers, B.L., 1989. Concept analysis and the development of nursing knowledge: the evolutionary cycle. Journal of Advanced Nursing 14, 330-335] 'evolutionary approach' which is viewed as an ongoing dynamic process, and one that identifies the shared meaning of concepts. Examining everyday discourse used in the nursing literature identified the critical attributes, antecedents and consequence of continuing education in nursing. As a result, the emerging attributes of the concept are synthesised into a conceptual model. The article concludes with an exploration of the application of the concept of continuing education within nursing and its implications for professional development.

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