Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Janet Reid-Hector


With the growth in healthcare research and rapid changes in technology, nurses' participation in lifelong learning is a critical factor in providing excellent patient care. However, many nurses encounter difficulties engaging in continuing professional development (CPD) activities. The purpose of this case study was to understand pediatric nurses' perceptions of CPD opportunities at a tertiary, freestanding, children's hospital in Southern California. Social cognitive theory was the framework for the study. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with a purposeful sample of 39 nurses comprised of day- and night-shift nurses plus nurse managers. The data were coded into categories and themes to explain the findings; the resulting 7 themes illustrated how these nurses perceived CPD. The nurses identified motivators and barriers that influenced their involvement in CPD activities. Most nurses reported that they were able to incorporate new knowledge into their practice and produce excellent patient outcomes but some nurses expressed instances of resistance and practice not supported with evidence-based approaches to care. Although the nurses found the programs adequate, they recommended ideas for improvement, including a need for leadership and management development. A project aimed at providing nurse managers with professional development in leadership was created to improve CPD. The project could improve the nursing profession by helping educators enhance CPD to support nurses in delivering high-quality patient care, thus supporting the healing and well-being of children under their care.