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The experience of practice development: an exploratory telephone interview study


RobGarbett RCN Institute, Radcliffe Infirmary, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HE (e-mail:


•  Practice development is a widely used term within British nursing. However, there is a lack of consistency and clarity in the way that the term is used.

•  A small-scale qualitative telephone interview study was therefore conceived to explore practitioners’ views of practice development.

•  Qualitative telephone interviews were carried out with 26 nurses working in a range of settings and roles around the UK. Informants reported varying degrees of awareness of practice development roles and activities ranging from little awareness to being closely involved.

•  Most informants seemed to place more emphasis on issues of personal development and educational aspects of practice development than is found in the literature.

•  Practice development staff were seen as having a range of functions ranging from working with individual practitioners to the co-ordination of education and training within an organization. The credibility of practice development staff was closely related to their clinical experience and ability.