Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Education

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Patricia W. Dittman

Date of original Performance / Presentation


Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Background: Ongoing educational development is essential to ensure the effectiveness of professional nurses’ learning experiences. Understanding the ways in which workplace learning occurs is fundamental to enabling nurse educators to deliver that knowledge. Induced hypothermia was introduced as a new treatment modality in 2005 and education surrounding the care of the hypothermia patient is lacking in the literature. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to illuminate how nurses learn new knowledge in the clinical setting. Theoretical Framework: The learning theory chosen for this study is the three dimensions of learning by Illeris (2004). Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with each participant in one individual, face-to-face session to examine the lived experiences of nurses providing care to induced hypothermia patients. A hermeneutic phenomenology method was chosen based on the work of van Manen. Hycner’s methodological approach was utilized to analyze data. Results: In this study, four learning areas emerged which corresponded to Illeris’ (2003b) three dimensions of learning, including cognitive, emotional, and environmental-social dimensions. The main theme described by every nurse interviewed was the necessity to have hands-on experience to feel competent in their care for induced hypothermia patients. The unit had a special identity because of their unique work of providing hypothermia care and one nurse explained, “We are making history.” Conclusions: Nurses preferred hands-on learning or experiential learning and they helped construct their learning environment. Nurse educators and nurse leaders fueled this synergetic learning process.




Health and environmental sciences, Education, Experential learning, Induced hypothermia, Synergetic learning, Workplace learning



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