organizational learning, nursing education, learning environment, quality improvement, leadership, mentorship, character, nursing students


Background: College of nursing leaders can foster organizational learning as a means of achieving their desired organizational outcomes. Organizational learning has not previously been studied in colleges of nursing, leaving college administrators and faculty little guidance as they strive to improve outcomes in their own colleges.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to discover new insights related to organizational learning in a college of nursing.

Design: The learning history method was used to document and describe organizational learning in a college of nursing.

Setting: This study was conducted with a college of nursing situated in a private, religious-based university in the western United States.

Participants: Six stakeholders and 16 individuals familiar with the college's history were purposively recruited for this study. Participants included college administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and individuals with university-level responsibilities related to the college.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews and college artifacts were used to gather data. Data was reviewed and themes identified through a process called “distillation.”

Findings: The college's vision, “Learning the Healer's Art” provides purpose and motivation within the college. Four themes provide additional insight into how the college established a learning culture and fosters behavior conducive to organizational learning: (1) Character and Quality, (2) Long-Term Perspective, (3) Collaborative Leadership and Adaptation, and (4) Mentoring.

Conclusion: College of nursing leaders can foster organizational learning and pursue improvement within their colleges. Recommended actions include developing a shared vision for the college, building a cadre of qualified faculty and students who have strong personal character, maintaining a long-term perspective, using a collaborative approach to leadership and adaptation, and facilitating mentoring.

Original Publication Citation

Lyman, B.,*Cowan, L., & *Hoyt, H. (2018). Organizational learning in a college of nursing. Nurse Education Today, 61, 134-139.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Nurse Education Today





University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Included in

Other Nursing Commons