Impact of caring for COVID-19 patients on nurses’ distance learning progress

  • Machiko Yagi Jichi Medical University
  • Yoshikazu Asada Jichi Medical University
  • Mitsue Suzuki University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Reiko Murakami Jichi Medical University
Keywords: Distance Learning, Nurses, COVID-19, Continuing Professional Education


We sought to understand the impact of disruption of nurses’ daily routines by COVID-19 on their participation in Continuing Professional Education. We analyzed learning logs of 194 nurses enrolled in a 12-month distance learning course, one cohort from March 2019 to February 2020, and one from March 2020 to February 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly login frequency was significantly higher in March 2020 than in March 2019, and significantly lower in April 2020 than in April 2019, which we associate with increased COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in April 2020. From March 2020 to August 2020, login frequency was significantly higher for nurses without previous distance learning experience, suggesting that their distance learning strategies were not yet established. During September and October 2020, login frequency was significantly higher, from which we infer previous procrastination. We found no significant differences between login frequencies of nurses who cared for COVID-19 patients and those who did not. The results of our study suggest that stressors imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic significantly hindered distance learning progress whether or not nurses directly cared for COVID-19 patients. Based on our findings, we recommend screening distance learning experiences and providing mentoring and learning support to mitigate interference with distance learning progress during times of heightened professional and personal stress.


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