The experience of practice nurses who had obtained a postgraduate nursing qualification and how the knowledge was utilised in the general practice setting.
BACKGROUND: It has been recognised at Government level that a well developed and organised primary health care system must be a priority to meet growing demands on the health sector. Practice nurses are a key part of the future primary health care workforce and, as such, have been supported to develop advanced skills and knowledge through postgraduate education programmes. Despite the growing number of nurses who had graduated from postgraduate programmes it was not clear how that knowledge was being translated to the general practice setting. AIM: The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of practice nurses who had obtained postgraduate nursing qualifications and how they utilised that knowledge in the general practice setting. METHODOLOGY: A qualitative inductive study was conducted in the lower South Island of New Zealand in 2010 during which data was collected from nine practice nurses who had undertaken postgraduate education. Their education ranged from Postgraduate Certificates through to Masters Degrees. The nurses were all interviewed individually and thematic data analysis was undertaken using NVIVO 9 software. Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Lower South Regional Ethics Committee RESULTS: Five main themes emerged from the interview data, namely (1) making the knowledge count, (2) personal and professional growth, (3) changing practice, (4) organisational support and (5) experience of interactions with doctors. CONCLUSION: Practice nurses with postgraduate education had developed skills in advanced health assessment, critical thinking, clinical reasoning, pharmacology, managing health inequalities, chronic disease management and leadership as a direct result of postgraduate education. Nurses reached their potential, and applied their knowledge most effectively, in organisations that valued and supported advanced nursing practice. These results were particularly important as there were no other New Zealand studies that had examined the outcomes of postgraduate education for practice nurses and consequently provided useful recommendations for optimising patient care in the primary health care sector.
Advisor: Conder, Jennifer; Whitehead, Lisa
Degree Name: Master of Health Sciences
Degree Discipline: Nursing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Practice; Nurse; postgraduate; education; general; practice; primary; health; care; New Zealand; knowledge
Research Type: Thesis