Trends in ophthalmology services, nursing skill-mix and education: 2nd national survey
This paper reports on a replication study of the first national survey commissioned by the RCN Ophthalmic Nursing Forum to assess the changing skill-mix of staff caring for ophthalmic patients and the nature of ophthalmic services. After minor modifications to the original questionnaire, it was circulated to the total population of ophthalmic units and hospitals in the United Kingdom (n=181). Following quantitative data analysis, it was found that the numbers of nurses holding ophthalmic nursing qualifications has risen to almost 50%, although this did not reach statistical significance. This increase has occurred alongside a significant rise in numbers of institutions offering ophthalmic nurse education and the expansion of day case surgery. Regional variations exist, however, to the extent that the increase in ophthalmic nurses and provision of ophthalmic nurse education has not been reflected nearly as much in Scotland as the rest of the UK. Overall, it was also found that the proportion of C, G and I grade nurses has fallen significantly, whilst the numbers of nurses graded D and F has risen. The implications of the results are discussed and recommendations for future research made.