Workplace Immunization and Educational Theories

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Introduction

Education is an important part of any professional field. By correctly presenting new and existing information, a better understanding of a particular field can be formed, allowing for better performance and productive workplace output regardless of the sphere. In the medical industry, education and learning are especially important, as professionals have to work on supporting human health and life flourishment. For this reason, establishing a good groundwork for medical staff education and providing them with the most up-to-date knowledge is a crucial role of an educator. The topic of vaccination, specifically, can be rather necessary to properly address and explain to the medical staff. In the unprecedented times of the current covid-19 pandemic and the recent emergence of the anti-vaccination movement, vaccinations are key to combating disease and illness (The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination for Healthcare Personnel). It is more crucial than ever for an educator to be able to address the concerns of their audience and make the necessary steps clear to them (Action 3.13 – Workforce immunization). In relation to the particular case study that is used as a basis for this paper, that means presenting the material to the staff of a hospital’s palliative care unit. Due to the nature of the work, the medical staff has to perform, a variety of issues arise in the process of delivering information and planning the lesson. Firstly, the work of a palliative care unit is associated with an increased need for accuracy and caution, as well as a duty to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of patients. Relieving stress, anxiety, and pain of patients plays an insurmountable role in this facet of healthcare, therefore ensuring the best quality of support provision is necessary.

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In terms of problems faced by the educational staff, the main ones are the anxiety about the upcoming audit from a certain percentage of the medical workers and their inability to properly estimate the risks connected with the failure to follow the procedure. Some of the staff have also expressed anger and discomfort over the prospect of being vaccinated, which contradicts their current beliefs. All of the discussed issues need to be properly tackled to achieve a proper effect for the course. This discussion will attempt to focus on both the aversion to vaccination from the members of the staff and the need to address the fears connected with the audit. In the process, two educational theories will be used: the cognitive and constructivism theory (Western Governors University, 2020).

Discussion

Chosen Education Theories

As described previously, the case study will examine two predominant educational theories in an attempt to address the issues presented in this particular situation. To better understand the reasoning behind these particular frameworks being chosen, an justification of their relevance to the case will be provided by properly engaging with the given theories of education, the situation can be resolved more quickly and effectively.

Cognitive Theory

The cognitive theory of Learning supposes that the education and learning of individuals are tightly interconnected with their cognition. Meaning that people’s understanding of the information and the influence of internal and external factors can have a large effect on how they approach learning (Cognitive Learning Theory: Theories with Benefits and Examples). Mental processes that occur during education Including the process of receiving, storing, and understanding information are all influenced by a person’s environment and by their own pre-existing knowledge. An interesting part of the cognitive theory is it’s claimed that understanding the thought process of the person leads to a better learning experience and the promotion of critical thinking (Patel et al., 2009). By making the students actively analyze both their biases and the thoughts that lead them to their conclusions, the theory allows educators to simultaneously encourage better absorption of information and the need to change people’s minds. In the context of this case study, some medical staff is seen as aversive to the process of vaccination and see it as a violation of their beliefs. By presenting them with accurate scientific information on the safety of immunization, its importance in the medical context, and rebuttals to common arguments against the procedure, the educator has the ability to influence these kinds of people (Mukhalalati & Taylor, 2019). This process promotes critical thinking and reflection on their held positions, as well as the validity of the arguments they have had before the educational session. The cognitive theory effectively helps the teacher to connect with their audience and provides a way for them to gradually come to another point of view without internal conflicts or protests. Provided with sufficient evidence against the practice of not vaccinating, especially in a medical setting, can be sufficient in changing minds and adequately preparing the medical staff for the upcoming audit. Additionally, learning in a collective environment can be well-suited for putting people’s beliefs into perspective and making them reflect. In a setting of education for the palliative care and cancer unit, many people can be expected to understand the increased need for proper immunization and the influence it has on the work process. Given such a context, the people that are more compliant with the changes occurring in the workplace can serve as a public example of proper response to the education initiative, a model to follow for those that are more reluctant. The cognitive theory argues that a person’s surroundings have a large bearing on the way they learn, meaning that the opinions and thoughts of their fellow medical professionals can be rather persuasive to problematic individuals.

Constructivist Theory

The constructivist view, in essence, argues that all knowledge that humans possess in their life is constructed, meaning, created as a synthesis of the new information they receive and their existing view of the world. The information presented is analyzed through the framework or the person’s currently held beliefs, evaluated against them, and accommodated accordingly. Newer knowledge effectively interacts with the existing beliefs and can serve to either bolster them further, change them or completely replace them instead. Depending on the circumstances of the person’s education and the way in which current and new information interact, the process of learning can be either complicated or easy (Biggs, 1996). The theory also supposes that the best way for educators to present their material to an audience is through active engagement, not passive learning. By making the listeners interact more closely with the material, it can be more easily understood and incorporated into the existing framework of their minds. This approach is useful in both understanding the beliefs of the troubled individuals and devising ways to adequately resolve the dilemma of their re-education. Discussing the particular situation presented in this case study, applying the constructivist method to organizing the lesson, and interacting with the medical staff can be greatly productive, as it both makes the material more approachable and promotes deeper engagement with the concepts discussed. Giving the medical staff ample opportunity to voice their opinions on the matter of immunization, discuss the leading theories on the topic and explain away the current misconceptions would be a preferable way of dealing with the need to import new knowledge onto them. Creating a distinct dissonance between the incorrect views on immunization and the newly suggested information can also bear a positive effect on engagement and the staff’s opinions, as the value of new information will be highlighted. Previous theories and discussions on the topic should be referenced in an ample manner, creating a sense of cohesion between the new and the old information received. The lesson structure incorporating collectivist views and theories can provide a better, more overarching overview of the need for immunization in the workplace and the importance it holds in the medical field (Constructivism 2020). By not only encouraging correct procedures but also listing and discussing the benefits the practice has in the long run, the educator can sound more convincing and reassuring to their listeners. The learning session can be made more engaging and uniting, by promoting group work and full interactivity with the concepts discussed. The use of group lessons can also be effective in reinforcing necessary knowledge and making its integration into the work practice (Brake, 2005). The open discussion will be crucial to progressively adapt the lesson plan to accurately reflect upon and refute the possible arguments the medical staff can have against vaccination.

Encouraging Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is an important part of the education process as it can make people develop better attitudes to new information and continuously improve their work practice. By encountering specific problems during the work process, doctors and nurses have the ability to reflect on their approaches and current knowledge with a prospect of improvement (Atkins & Murphy, 1995). The process of learning is extremely crucial for any type of occupation, especially in the medical field. With new knowledge and data being revealed with each passing year, healthcare professionals need to be able to keep up with the medical consensus and the most relevant editions of the research materials that exist. Studies, research documents, guides, and other types of data all need to be incorporated into the active practice and beliefs of healthcare workers to ensure the best quality of patient care and support. Most importantly, the data needs to be presented in a manner that will create complex maps of understanding in learners, not just surface-level knowledge (Biggs, Aligning teaching and assessment to curriculum objectives). Therefore, an educator’s job necessarily includes promoting lifelong learning and the process of constantly receiving and evaluating newly acquired data (Bastable et al., 2021). Practical and engaging education is one of the first ways of encouraging better learning practices. By actively introducing students to educational practices that challenge their current viewpoints and test their skills, a more constructed attitude towards learning can be formed, an attitude that will encourage healthcare workers to seek out newer information and apply it in their work (Watanabe-Crockett, 2020). Furthermore, a system of continuously evaluating and assessing the knowledge and skills of medical professionals is necessary (Watanabe-Crockett, 2020). Buy establishing a way to check and measure the level of competency of medical staff on a constant basis of further improvement and learning can be encouraged (Handscombe, 2010). The assessment must be able to evaluate the underlying approaches and opinions regarding a variety of medical issues, testing the understanding of contemporary health care solutions (Barksby, 2019). Recommending preferred resources for acquiring new knowledge and effective ways of both finding relevant data and applying it in a practical setting can also be beneficial to lifelong learning, as it makes the process more intuitive and approachable for everyone.

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Application in an Education Plan

In the context of implementing educational theories in an educational plan, a few approaches can be taken to make sure that the medical staff properly understands the information provided and the lesson reaches its intended outcome. In the beginning, an educator needs to establish the running theme of the lesson and properly explain the intended goal of the session to the audience (Lesson Planning). By making the intentions and the plan of action more clear to the participants, an educator can encourage the medical staff to ask questions pre-emptively, making easy adjustments to the lesson plan and the topics that are going to be discussed (Flexible Teaching: What It Is And Why You Should Use It? 2017). Broadly speaking, the education process needs to cover the practice of workplace immunization, its relevance in the workplace in general, and in the context of the medical field, especially for the palliative care and cancer unit (Australian Government Department of Health, 2020). Giving examples of different situations and outcomes can also be effective, as it gives the students a frame of reference for their assessment (Qiao et al., 2014). Doing so both establishes the stakes for the session, engages the audience, and makes the contents of the lesson more applicable to real life. After that, an educator should be able to gather feedback from the audience, including the common misconceptions about the dangers and benefits of vaccination, and properly address them in their material (Gathering student feedback). Doing so creates the discrepancy between old and new, a concept that is discussed in the collectivist theory. It also gives the medical staff a better sense of control of the situation. After addressing the possible concerns, a general case for immunization and its benefits for the participants as healthcare workers and individuals alike should be made. The lesson should be concluded with general messages and another round of questions from the staff, which can help in alleviating possible tensions and addressing any questions that may arise during the process of the lecture.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a proper framework for addressing workplace immunization has to be made incorporating educational concepts connected with the cognitive and collectivist theory of learning. The cognitive theory supposes that education should be made taking into account both the internal and external thought processes of the students, encouraging better critical thinking skills and reflection upon material gathered. Constructing the lesson in a way that promotes changes in perspective and actively addresses the possible Thoughts the audience may hold can be beneficial to the effectiveness of the educational process. The collectivist perspective, Alternatively, can be used to establish a framework for understanding the knowledge Medical professionals currently hold and the Possible ways of presenting information to them. Methods of education that are able to incorporate group work and active participation as their part are seen as especially beneficial in this regard.

Reference List

Australian Government Department of Health, 2020. Vaccination for people at occupational risk. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Web.

Constructivism. Center for Educational Innovation – University at Buffalo. Web.

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Western Governors University, 2020. The Five Educational Learning Theories. Western Governors University. Web.

Mukhalalati, B.A. & Taylor, A., 2019. Adult Learning Theories in Context: A Quick Guide for Healthcare Professional Educators. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 6.

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Atkins, S., & Murphy, K. (1995). Reflective Practice. Nursing Standard, 9(45), 31–37.

Brake, J. (2005). Bridging the gap between knowledge and practice. Journal of Diabetes Nursing, 9 (3 ).

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Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32(3), 347–364. Web.

Biggs, J. (n.d.). Aligning teaching and assessment to curriculum objectives. Aligning teaching and assessment to curriculum objectives | Advance HE. Web.

Qiao, Y. Q., Shen, J., Liang, X., Ding, S., Chen, F. Y., Shao, L., … Ran, Z. H. (2014). Using cognitive theory to facilitate medical education. BMC Medical Education, 14(1). Web.

Patel, V. L., Yoskowitz, N. A., Arocha, J. F., & Shortliffe, E. H. (2009). Cognitive and learning sciences in biomedical and health instructional design: A review with lessons for biomedical informatics education. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 42(1), 176–197. Web.

Cognitive Learning Theory: Theories with Benefits and Examples. Valamis. (n.d.). Web.

Lesson Planning. Centre for Teaching Excellence. (n.d.). Web.

Gathering student feedback. Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Web.

Flexible Teaching: What It Is And Why You Should Use It? Netcom 92. (2017). Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination for Healthcare Personnel. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.

Barksby , J. (2019). A new model of reflection for clinical practice. Nursing Times. Web.

Watanabe-Crockett, L., 2020. 6 Ways to Build Lifelong Learning Skills in Your Learners. Wabisabi Learning. Web.

Action 3.13 – Workforce immunization. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Web.

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