Daring to be different : a qualitative study exploring the education needs of the nurse consultant

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Nurse consultants are recognised experts and are one of the most senior nursing ‘clinical’ grades. How these roles have developed has varied but all require an armoury of expanded and extended skills. However, since their introduction in the UK little has been written about how they should be effectively prepared for the role. This study used a multi-method approach to establish a rich picture of the nurse consultant role (specialising in safeguarding children) in relation to their existing skills and perceived education needs. The job descriptions and specifications of a sample of consultant nurses (n=4) established role expectations and content, whilst in-depth individual semi-structured interviews with the nurses and six key ‘stakeholders’ explored perspectives about the educational preparation and ongoing learning needs of those either in the role or aspiring to be. The findings suggest that whilst there are differences there is also some convergence in their developmental needs. For example, that mentorship and academic and leadership support were integral to meeting their learning needs, to optimise effectiveness and to enhance future role development. It is vital therefore that those wishing to ‘grow’ consultant nurses implement a range of educational strategies to support the continued professional and clinical development of current and future post holders.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)406-411
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2011

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