Publication date

A general picture of the learning communities: characteristics, similarities and differences.

Verkleij, K.A.M., Francke, A.L., Voordouw, I., Albers, M., Gobbens, R.J.J. A general picture of the learning communities: characteristics, similarities and differences. Journal of Advanced Nursing: 2016, 72(suppl. 1), p. 78. Abstract. 5th European Nursing Congress: 'Caring for older people: how can we do the right things right?' 4-7 oktober 2016, Rotterdam.

Because learning communities of community care nurses and nursing lectures are a new phenomenon, it is of interest to evaluate en monitor the learning communities. the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, NIVEL, was commissioned to monitor the realization of the learning communities, on behalf of ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.

Materials and methods
This introductory presentation is based on the first steps of the process evaluation of the learning communities. Information about the realization of the learning communities was extracted from documents (project plans, progress and final reports, reports of the consultation rounds among project leaders).

The nursing schools and home care organizations had some requirements, but also much liberty in shaping the learning communities. This resulted in a lot of similarities, but also some differences between the learning communities. Important similarities are the focus on promoting the competences regarding self-reliance and self-management support. Other similarities concern the fact that many nursing lecturers have internships in home care organizations. Furthermore, community care nurses are in general involved in nursing education by guest lecturing. Moreover, community care nurses are also often trained in coaching nurse student interns. A final similarity is that learning communities aim to share products of learning activities with others via, for instance, symposia. Important differences concern the number of targeted competences, number of learning activities and also the number of home care organizations involved. In addition, there are also differences in the extent the learning communities use digital platforms and other ICT. Knowledge is being digitally shared via newsletters, factsheets, webinars and video presentations.

In 2015/2016 ten learning communities for community care nursing were launched. This has been an important step to enhance collaboration between community care nurses and nursing lecturers. It is expected that learning communities will contribute to new competences that are needed to support that elderly and chronically ill people can remain at home as long as possible.