Monash University
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Understanding the continuing professional education needs among Malaysia nurses and their readiness for E-learning

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posted on 2017-05-18, 03:06 authored by Chong, Mei Chan
BACKGROUND: Globalisation and the rapid advancement in scientific and information communication technology require health care providers to constantly update their knowledge thus ensuring currency. Nurses are the largest workforce in the health care system and are required to participate in continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain their competency and meet the standards of the profession. The Nurses and Midwifery Board of Malaysia has legislated for mandatory CPE and now requires all nurses to provide evidence of having completed 25 credit points of approved CPE each year as part of the licensure process. However, despite this requirement, many nurses are not able to participate in CPE for a range of reasons including an inability to access educational opportunities because they neither have time nor financial capacity nor are geographically isolated. E-learning programs may be an option to enhance learning opportunities for nurses as through e-learning nurses can learn in their own time and at their own pace to keep up to date with contemporary technology. AIM: The study consisted of two phases. Phase 1 was a survey of Malaysian nurses CPE practice, and Phase 2 surveyed nurses with regard to their readiness for e-learning. The aims of this study were to determine 1. The practice of CPE among Malaysian nurses and 2.Their readiness towards e-learning. DESIGN AND METHODS: A cross sectional descriptive study was used in both surveys. For the CPE survey, multistage cluster sampling was used to recruit the sample. 1000 registered nurses were selected randomly from 12 hospitals and four health district offices from four states of Peninsular Malaysia. Subsequently, in the second survey, random sampling was used to draw from the pool of nurses from the first survey who had agreed to participate in the follow up. 300 samples individuals recruited for this final stage. Self-reports questionnaires were used to collect data for both phases. Likert scale rating from 1 to 5(1 representing not at all to 5representing a great deal) was used for factors affecting CPE, factors affecting e-learning, attitude towards e-learning and self-directed learning readiness. RESULTS: The response rate was high with 79% (792/1000) returning the Phase 1 questionnaire and 100% (300/300) of the sample participating in the Phase 2 survey. Eighty percent (n=562) of the nurses had engaged in CPE activities within the last 12 months. The most popular form of attendance was workshops (345, 43.6%) followed by conferences (323, 40.8%), and the least attractive activity was undertaking a tertiary education program of study (10, 1.3%). The most important motivation factors for participation were, ‘to give quality care to patients’ (mean= 4.39) and to update their knowledge (mean=4.34). The major factors impeding respondents’ participation were work commitments (mean=3.54) and domestic responsibilities (mean=3.42). In terms of e-learning readiness, the majority of the respondents (289, 96%) had experience in using a computer. Eighty five percent (85%) of the respondents had access to the internet and 71% of them had internet connection at home. Eighty seven percent of those with internet connection were using high speed internet (ADSL). About three quarters (72%) used a computer for more than 2 hours per week. The three main factors that deterred them from e-learning were limited time (mean =3.42), lack of support from supervisor and limited understanding about network systems (LAN, internet and intranet) (mean =3.27). However 86% of the nurses who had not experienced any e-learning were very interested in engaging in e-learning in the future. Respondents’ attitude towards e-learning were good with a mean score 3.87. Eighty seven percent of the respondents had scored more than 150 for SDLRS which mean the nurses were ready for e-learning. CONCULSION: Implementation of Mandatory Continuing Professional Education (MCPE) is considered to be an important measure to increase nurses’ participation in CPE however the findings from this study indicate that policy makers should review the continuing professional development system to ensure accessibility of relevant CPE activities to all nurses. Respondents in this study indicate that they are ready to learn on-line, suggesting that e-learning options will increase the accessibility of CPE. A number of recommendations are proposed to enhance the quality and uptake of e-learning in Malaysia.


Principal supervisor

Simon Cooper

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Department, School or Centre

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences

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