Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


The purpose of this investigation was to determine nurses preferred continuing nursing education (CNE) delivery method. Specific preferences of CNE delivery methods for nurses in rural and urban regions were explored, as well as CNE delivery method preferences for various age groups and preferences related to length of licensure. Patricia Benner's theory (1984) From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice provided a framework to explore the data for this investigation. According to Benner, there are five stages of skill acquisition: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. Progressing through these stages, the nurse changes to an intuitive practitioner. A review of the literature supported the purpose of this investigation. The review substantiated that CNE is used to obtain knowledge, maintain competency, and develop careers. The three main CNE delivery methods arc live interactive, interactive distance learning, and independent study. This descriptive exploratory investigation used a secondary analysis approach to examine data the Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN) collected on CNE delivery method preferences. The Kansas State Board of Nursing surveyed all nurses renewing licenses in May, June, and July of 1999. There were 5,431 surveys sent out. Of that number, 4,017 people returned the surveys. The response rate for this survey was 73%. There were four research questions explored in this investigation. The first question asked which CNE delivery method the nurses preferred. Interactive traditional was identified as the preferred method by 73.6% (n = 2956) of the respondents. The second most popular modality was independent study with 16.9% (n=680) of the respondents reporting it as their preferred method. The modality with the smallest percentage of stated preference (3.6%, n = 146) was interactive distance learning. The second research question explored whether length of licensure made a difference in preference. Analysis of this question was done by first calculating frequency data on both length of licensure and continuing nursing education delivery method preference. The data were then analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis 1-way ANOVA statistic. This analysis showed X (5, n = 4017) = 39.12, p = 0.000. This significant statistic revealed that the live interactive delivery method was preferred across all length of licensure categories. The third research question was designed to explore if the age of the nurse influenced the stated CNE delivery method preference. Analysis of the data for this question was done using the Kruskal-Wallis 1-Way ANOVA statistic. This analysis showed X2(6, N = 4017) = 3.62, p = 0.00. The live interactive delivery method was significantly more preferred across the age of the nurse categories. The fourth research question determined if there was a difference in CNE deli very preference based on whether the nurse lived in a rural or urban area. The preferred delivery method was compared across the urban and rural regions of this investigation. The Z score was a - 1.4288 with a two-tailed p of 0.1531. These results indicate that there was no significance in the difference of CNE delivery preference when compared among rural and urban regions. The implications for practice point to the fact that the nurses preferred interactive distance learning the least. This was consistent across all variables. Practice is faced with shrinking budgets and fewer staff. As it becomes less feasible to send nurses to live classes, alternatives must be developed. Practice should help determine what factors influence the nurses' preference for live interactive classes over interactive distance learning classes. Negative factors should be improved to make these offerings more appealing to the nurses. Theory development should include exploring the relationship between perceived placement on Novice to Expert continuum and preferred method of CNE delivery. Using this data it may be possible for the continuing education coordinator to plan a curriculum based on the levels of the continuum. Education should also be aware of these findings. Education should be developing curriculum that utilizes multiple modalities. Education should also be aware of what problems are inherent in each of the modalities of delivery. If the nurse is exposed to distance technology in a negative manner, this may influence which CNE delivery method that nurse prefers. This study also indicates that further research should be conducted to determine the factors that influence the nurses' preferred CNE delivery method. Researchers should also look at the nurses west of Interstate 135 and US 81, as compared to the rest of Kansas. Since the least favored method was interactive distance learning, there should be further exploration of what factors influence this preference. The analysis of the data revealed that nurses in Kansas prefer traditional interactive CNE programs. This investigation showed that age of the nurse, length of licensure, and physical location of the nurse did not change this preferred delivery mode.


Eileen Deges Curl

Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2002 Terry J. Siek


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