Title. Registered Nurses’ perceptions of their work and professional development
Aim. This paper is a report of a study to elucidate Registered Nurses’ perceptions of their work and professional development 6 years after graduation.
Background. Nursing education and health care has rapidly changed in the last two decades. Education and experience are important components in Registered Nurses’ ability to promote a high quality of care, but a great deal depends on their work circumstances. This study emphasizes Registered Nurses’ view of their work in health care, at a time in their career when they have several years of experience.
Method. Data were collected in 2003 from in-depth interviews with 15 Registered Nurses 6 years after their graduation. The interviews were semi-structured and analysed with interpretive content analysis.
Findings. The findings revealed two themes and five sub-themes. The first theme, An appropriate but demanding profession, consisted of two sub-themes: ‘having found one’s niche’ and ‘growing old in nursing may be difficult’. The second theme, A profession with opportunities and obstacles, consisted of three sub-themes: ‘being aware of Registered Nurses’ potential’, ‘having knowledge that is seldom made use of’ and ‘attaining professional growth is no matter of course’.
Conclusion. Keeping Registered Nurses’ satisfied and avoiding their dissatisfaction is crucial for both educators and employers. It is essential that employers give priority to Registered Nurses’ time with patients and to motivate and support them in professional development. Further intervention studies regarding a change of the balance between obstacles and opportunities are needed.