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Priorities for the professional development of registered nurses in nursing homes: a Delphi study

08 Sep 2016


Abstract
Objective

to establish a consensus on the care and professional development needs of registered nurses (RNs) employed by UK care homes.

Design

two-stage, online modified Delphi study.

Setting and participants

a panel (n = 352) of individuals with experience, expertise or interest in care home nursing: (i) care home nurses and managers; (ii) community healthcare professionals (including general practitioners, geriatricians, specialist and district nurses); and (iii) nurse educators in higher education.

Results

RNs employed by nursing homes require particular skills, knowledge, competence and experience to provide high-quality care for older residents. The most important responsibilities for the nursing home nurse were: promoting dignity, personhood and wellbeing, ensuring resident safety and enhancing quality of life. Continuing professional development priorities included personal care, dementia care and managing long-term conditions. The main barrier to professional development was staff shortages. Nursing degree programmes were perceived as inadequately preparing nurses for a nursing home role. Nursing homes could improve by providing supportive learning opportunities for students and fostering challenging and rewarding careers for newly RNs.

Conclusion

if nurses employed by nursing homes are not fit for purpose, the consequences for the wider health and social-care system are significant. Nursing homes, the NHS, educational and local authorities need to work together to provide challenging and rewarding career paths for RNs and evaluate them. Without well-trained, motivated staff, a high-quality care sector will remain merely an aspiration.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Age and Ageing