Theory-Practice Gap in Nursing

Healthcare provision is a highly professionalized trade that attracts monumental attention in terms of the transfer of training into the delivery of service. Sensitivity with which human life handlers must exercise caution in their trade makes it a thorough professional. Critics of perfect transfer of academic training find such professions with a massive expectation demand and find nursing as a suitable subject to express their critical opinion.

The dignity of human life ranks among the most protected subjects of human civilizations, which introduces the demands of a near-flawless delivery of professional healthcare service. Assuming that the education system performs excellent delivery of knowledge and skills needed for a perfect delivery of healthcare service, education would facilitate impressive healthcare outcomes. Alternatively, healthcare delivery would be excellent if the healthcare delivery environment received trained professionals and maintained perfect academic performance conditions. This study assesses the gaps witnessed in ensuring efficient training and the provision of a perfect performance environment (Goodfellow, 2004).

Various challenges witnessed in the delivery of perfect nursing education emerge, making the attainment of flawless practice difficult and unattainable. In terms of the role of the education sector in enhancing nursing practice, medical education institutions must respond to the changing nature of healthcare services. Complex education systems have emerged to respond to the challenges that face the healthcare industry. Emerging health conditions for instance continue to pose difficulties in the delivery of perfect education to nursing graduates. It implies that the nursing industry continually faces the need to update its academic standards.

The most effective way to handle this challenge relates to the production of enough numbers to tackle the updated aspect. This further increases the pressure experienced by the nursing education functionality. Despite the challenged education delivery environment, the smaller number of healthcare trainees must deliver quality services to cater to the rising demand (Biqelow, Kautz, and Reinert, 2012).

The nursing education sector in the US and many other jurisdictions face the challenge of increasing demands against limited entries. Despite the shortage in nursing personnel, reported cases of candidates failing to secure places continue to emerge. Perhaps the sole challenge remains capacity insufficiency, making the nursing industry resort to methods exposing the industry to more inefficiency. As an illustration, the entry-level requirements for various nursing training programs continue to lower the qualification requirements to tap potential entrants. Diversification of the nursing training programs in the US for instance shows deliberate efforts to increase entry numbers.

Clinical practice exposed to such training challenges must display performance inefficiencies at various levels. Given the rising demand for healthcare professionals, measures to increase numbers continue to experience mixed reactions. Whereas higher professional entry levels continue to reject potential entrants due to qualification constraints, lower entry levels in other nursing programs continue to provide graduates into the system. In this view, the confusion in qualification standards for nursing professionals raises queries in the manner of handling the healthcare industry (Biqelow, Kautz, and Reinert, 2012).

Nurses must have constant academic updates for the modern-day practice environment, which experiences numerous healthcare challenges (Essani and Ali, 2011). Against the backdrop of rising demand for healthcare services, the nursing fraternity cannot experience constant knowledge updates without impediments. Pressure to cover the rising demand exposes the nurses to a work environment that cannot support continued training.

The cost of education further acts as an impediment to the continued updating of education amongst the nurses. Because of the cost factor among various nursing courses, potential nurses may find other better cost-friendly professions thereby reducing the attractiveness of the profession. Under such pressure, the nursing practitioners may not find sufficient cover to enable continued improvement in handling emerging challenges (Scully, 2011).

In several jurisdictions, nursing educators may also find it difficult to update their training methods since sufficient government investment to cater for such costs fails. Given the impact of the outdated training availed to such nurses, the gap between training and the real practice challenges continues to rise. In developed jurisdictions, the impact of the government meeting costs exposes the deployment of resources to inequalities. In this respect, the USA occupies the top position as having the most costly healthcare system when compared to other jurisdictions.

Within the complex terms of the trade, nurses may pass the exams but fail to transfer the knowledge into the practical interpretation. Failure to follow protocols in practice and delivery of enhanced services exposes the trade into disrepute. When comparing the sensitivity that the profession bears with other professions, the impact of failure to comply with protocol leads to profound healthcare implications. Anxiety levels for an overstretched nursing professional rise proportionately, since the demand leads to pressure on personal competence (Scully, 2011). The gaps involved in translating training into actual performance and results in delivery touch on the practicality of student competence in the given environment.

Students find it difficult to improve on their training during the performance due to constrictions and restrictions in infrastructure and available resources. The level of competence possessed by the nurse depends on the environment in which the delivery of services occurs. In such an interpretation, competence depends on external factors that range from the available infrastructure to the applicable style of management. Management systems in the healthcare industry further increase the gap of translation of the attained education into desired results. Debates of the interaction between education and professional nursing practice improve on the options available to policymakers in designing relevant systems (Gallagher, 2004).

Traditionally, clinical trainers and healthcare professionals have different roles in the actual delivery of services to the population. Bridging of the existing gap continues in the world today, by the increase of cooperation between the trainers and healthcare practitioners. The incorporation of institutions of learning as vital elements of healthcare decisions in recent years proves to be a key decision in the uplifting of the healthcare industry (Goodfellow, 2004).

However, the gap still exists in the industry in terms of the gap between the role of the knowledgeable trainers and their juniors who take up the role of direct service delivery. To increase cooperation between the trainers and the healthcare institutions in the delivery of competent results in healthcare facilities, the further investment must suffice. The difficulty in meeting the already available cost items exposes the gap to persistence in the industry. In engaging the trainers of healthcare colleges in active consultation and perhaps direct service delivery, astronomical costs to cater for the transfer of expertise in the cooperation emerge. Clinical trainers charge fees that elevate the operation costs of the industry to further pressure.

Research has identified various gaps that challenge the execution of a seamless transfer of knowledge from the medical education sector to the healthcare sector. Among the commonest challenges posing as gaps, medication and implementation of acquired skills rank among the top distracters. In medication terms, several nurses find it a challenging task to enter into the industry. The tension involved in the execution of medication including administration of drugs and other related factors poses a challenge to the newcomers. Seemingly, a huge gap in the form of pharmacology detail appears to act as a challenge to a seamless induction into the industry (Essani and Ali, 2011).

The authors also observed that the level of interpretation of skills needed in the execution of duties differed in various classes of patients. In terms of the execution of the skills among adults, new nurses reported fewer challenges than in the same execution among children. A separate challenge touches on the interpretation of knowledge needed to handle different health challenges. New nurses find it difficult to retrieve relevant information needed in handling case assessment, symptoms, and other results-related issues. In such a challenge, the nurse fails to employ training acquired in solving different challenges presented in the health facility.

Essani and Ali (2011) further observe that the code blue scenes provide rare cases of challenging procedures that appear problematic. Equally, intubation provides a challenge in the handling of the patients’ condition for the initial times. Additionally, the authors reckon that several devices in the medical environment pose a challenge in their operation. As the first health professionals in emergency cases, nurses without prior experience and confidence in operations and navigation through such scenes must depict large gaps. Whereas training and education provide the bulk of needed knowledge on healthcare delivery, several areas of operation gaps pose a difficulty in the healthcare industry (Gallagher, 2004).


Biqelow, A., Kautz, D., & Reinert, J. (2012). Overcoming nursing faculty shortage and bridging the gap between education and practice. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 28(5), 216-218.

Essani, R., & Ali, T. (2011). Knowledge and practice gaps among pediatric nurses at a tertiary care hospital Karachi Pakistan. ISRN Pediatrics. Web.

Gallagher, P. (2004). How the metaphor of a gap between theory and practice has influenced nursing education. Nurse Education Today, 24(4), 263-268.

Goodfellow, L. M. (2004). Can a journal club bridge the gap between research and practice? Nurse Educator, 29(3), 107–110.

Scully, N. J. (2011). The theory-practice gap and skill acquisition: An issue for nursing education. Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(2), 93-98.

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