Recognition of previous learning for professional advancement in registered nurse education

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Dunham, Gwendolyn Sue
Patton, Don C.
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This study was designed to determine attitudes of administrators, faculty, and students toward educational mobility for registered nurses. A second purpose was to determine if curriculum designs acknowledge previous learning for advanced placement in RN/BSN programs; and to determine if perceived needs of learners were met.Following the review of selected literature a questionnaire was designed to collect data from 45 RN/BSN programs accredited by the National League for Nursing in Indiana and the four contiguous states. A total of 214 responses from administrators, faculty, and students were obtained. Factor analysis of the instrument determined the five factors of curriculum, program need, learning, previous experience and function/role. The mean, standard deviation, and oneway analysis of variance was determined for the total and the five sub-scores individual and by group from the five participating states. Six null hypotheses were tested using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).Results based on the ANOVA, mean, and standard deviations of total group score indicated no significant difference in attitudes of administrators, faculty, and students involved in RN/BSN programs toward acknowledgment of previous learning. Total group sub-scores for the five factors were found to be different for curriculum and function/role.The ANOVA of each state by sub-scores indicated differences for Indiana as function/role, Illinois Michigan as curriculum, and Ohio as previous experience/practice.A variety of mobility programs have emerged over the past fifteen years, however administrators, faculty, and students differ in the perception of acknowledgment of previous learning, curriculum designs, and function/role for RN/BSN education.Major conclusions were: 1) There is agreement among administrators, faculty, and students for program need but the degree of flexibility in design does not meet learner need and the recognition of previous learning; 2) students do not agree with administrators and faculty in the perception of function/role; and 3) administrators and faculty do not agree with students in perceptions of curricular needs.