The construction of an evaluation model for use in conjunction with continuing education courses in the nursing profession.
Continuing education in Scotland underwent radical changes in the early 1980's, when the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting for Scotland responded to the proposals of a working party report (Working Part 1981). They began re-designing their continuing education provision for qualified nurses, and in conjunction with this development, they commissioned two consecutive evaluations. One was to look at a course entitled 'The Experienced Charge Nurse Module', and the other was of a more complex modular development, entitled 'Professional Studies I and II'. This thesis uses the work that was carried out by the author in executing the two evaluations, to propose a new model of evaluation for use in conjunction with continuing education courses. The need for the model became apparent in the early stages of the research, after the relevant nursing, evaluation, and continuing education literature sources were considered. No existing models appeared to completely meet the demands of the complexities of adult, continuing education courses, although it was considered that the 'Illuminative Evaluation' model of Parlett and Hamilton (1972) was a good basis to work from. Through the initial evaluation of the Experienced Charge Nurse Module, certain methodologies - predominantly qualitative - were tested, and used in conjunction with progressive focusing (Parlett and Hamilton, 1972) and grounded theory techniques (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). This based the research strongly in the phenomenological field, and these techniques were pursued and strengthened through the second, much larger evaluation of Professional Studies I and II. The main development at this stage, was that of a monitoring exercise. This complemented the evaluative component, and when the two elements were combined, they formed the 'Structure-Process-Outcome' model of evaluation (based on the categories used in the quality assurance field (Donabedian, 1966). This is proposed as a flexible and comprehensive model which can be adapted for use at either the macro or micro level of evaluation.