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Continuing Education for Nurses


Motivation is a complex phenomenon. Motivation has to do with energizing and directing our efforts toward a meaningful goal. Motivation describes a sequence of events. It begins with a choice about what motivate to satisfy, is followed by instrumental behavior, and concludes with the motive being satisfied or thwarted (Ciccarelli & Meyer, 2006). Motivation also can be described as the process by which activities are started, directed, and continued so that physical or psychological needs or wants are met (Petri, 1996). While there are numerous motivational theories, this paper will focus on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory.

Goals and Objectives

  1. Discuss Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory
  2. Discuss implications for nursing management

Keywords: motivation, behavior change, needs, management

WILSON SHEPARD EDUCATION ASSOCIATES has been approved by the Florida Board of Nursing, Georgia Board of Nursing and DC Board of Nursing.
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Wilson Shepard Education Associates is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by The Alabama State Nurses Association, an accredited approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.” 

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Disclaimer: Information on this program is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal and/or medical advice or to be a comprehensive compendium of evidence based practice. For specific implementation information, please contact an appropriate professional, organization, legal source, or facility policy. The author and planning committee members have declared no conflict of interest.


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"Motivation - what we can learn from the children refugees –

A Discussion on Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs Theory"

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Motivation - Maslow's Heirarchy of need


Motivation - what we can learn from the children refugees?

I watched the news reporting the illegal crossing of so many children crossing the Mexican border to the United States (US) and it can be sad to see these children alone. Some are as young as 7 years old. No food. No money. No shelter. And the saddest is to hear the reports of border patrol guards finding many dead children in the deserts. But these children have a dream - a better life in the U.S. and they want it!

I recently watched a documentary film that followed 3 young teenage boys traveling from Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. The documentary Which Way Home is a 2009 documentary film directed by Rebecca Cammisa. The film follows several children who are attempting to get from Mexico and Central America to the United States, on top of a train that crosses Mexico known as "La Bestia" (The Beast). Cammisa received a Fulbright Scholar Grant to make the documentary in 2006. The film premiered on HBO on August 24, 2009.

The goal for these boys was the United States (US). They hopped on trains and rode on top of freight cars. Some parts of the trip were over 1,000 miles. Very scary when they actually faced the fear of death...and that didn't stop them. Some were raped. Some were robbed and beaten by Mexican smugglers. There were charity houses along the way that provided some food and shelter. The Mexican officials have a law against riding the trains, but there are thousands every day and it is hard for them to actually enforce this law.

These boys had no hope of a better life in their countries. No jobs. No education. One of these boys did not even know how to read or write - he was 13. They asked for his fingerprints when signing deportation documents.

I started to wonder what motivates them to "cross the border?" Some "hope" to be adopted. Some already have family in the U.S. But they did not allow fear or even the thought of death to stop them.

But I don't want to discuss the political storm this is creating. I just want to discuss what motivated them.

None of these young men actually made it to the U.S. But they were motivated. Motivated to change.

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  1. Ciccarelli, S.K., & Meyer, G.E. (2006). Psychology (mypsychlab Ed.). Upper saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 
  2.  Huitt, W. (2007). Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [August 2, 2014] from,
  3. Petri, H. (1996) Four Motivational Components of Behavior. Retrieved (August 2, 2014)
  4. Documentary Which Way Home Retrieved August 18, 2014