Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Scholarly project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing




Kathleen Kalb


The purpose of this study was to elucidate a methodology to characterize learning curves related to the task performances primarily related to the psychomotor domain of learning inherent to the specialty of gastroenterology nursing. A search of the literature offered no specific guidance in such an endeavor; however, the nursing literature in nursing education has called for the development and utilization of learning curves generally. This is important for myriad reasons, patient safety being primary, yet important to this study is the relation of the cost associated with orienting new nurses, as well as those associated with nursing turnover; these are significant in terms of financial cost and labor encumbrances endured by staff nurses as a result of alternative assignments, increased assignments associated with both short staffing, or in conjunction with the orientation process itself. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) tool has demonstrated the ability to characterize the learning curves for nurses involved with the technical aspects of gastroenterology nursing practice associated with the psychomotor domain of learning. Additionally, the conceived VAS tool has also shown a capacity to characterize learning curves for performances associated primarily within the cognitive domains as well, and this represents an evolution of the learning curve beyond its historical origins within industrial management. This study found that that the preponderance of empirical support reached statistical significance with respect to the relationships inferred from the VAS tool. Results have been presented, described, and analyzed, including recommendations for future research, which will benefit nursing, nurse educators, and nursing theory.