Title. Education for new role development: the Community Matron in England.
Aim. This paper is a report of an evaluation of the English national pilot education programme preparing Community Matrons to fulfil their role.
Background. Investment in community services has been important in introducing new ways of working in the United Kingdom National Health Service, particularly for patients with complex long-term conditions. Development of the Community Matron role in England is an exemplar in the creation of modern nursing careers that are fit for purpose.
Method. A mixed methods approach to data collection was adopted. This included documentary analysis of a range of sources used in the development and evaluation of the programme. In addition, during 2006, a self-administered questionnaire was sent to all Community Matrons undertaking the programme (n = 70), with a response rate of 67% (n = 47). Individual telephone interviews were conducted with 17 students and six mentors. A focus group was also undertaken with the education programme Development Team (n = 5). Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS and qualitative data analysed using content and thematic analyses.
Findings. The majority of students (n = 25) believed that the programme had met their expectations and had helped them to achieve the functions of the Community Matron role as defined in national competence statements. However, 17 students experienced difficulties in the level of organisational readiness to support them in their role, including, for example, lack of facilitation of their work-based learning.
Conclusion. In spite of the successful programme design, there is a need for organisations to develop their infrastructure to support new roles as well as offering protected time to learn in practice.