Aims and objectives. To determine clinical mental health nurses’ views and preferences about continuing professional development.
Background. Participation in continuing professional development is now expected for nurse and midwifery registration. However, it is unclear how clinically based mental health nurses view continuing professional development and its relevance to career intentions.
Method. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews with mental health nurses (n = 50) drawn from inpatient mental health units.
Results. The most prominent factor identified through this research is that the majority of the fifty participants valued continuing professional development and sought more opportunities to participate. They particularly favoured in-house locally based sessions targeting patient-related clinical skills enhancement. Importantly, this interest in continuing professional development was not confined to new graduates needing to consolidate their skills. Work-based flexibility, the types of courses available and opportunities for study leave were also identified as important factors. Of the 50 nurses interviewed, 40% expressed a desire for continuing professional development vis-à-vis remaining in the service; 30% of nurses responded to the same question with an emphasis on the importance of collegial support amongst peers and management; and 30% of the nurses indicated their primary focus for continuing professional development was to further their tertiary studies.
Conclusions. These results are not only timely given the requirements around continuing professional development, but are also important to drive improvements in quality continuing professional development where needs are prioritised, discussed and agreed on.
Relevance to clinical practice. Findings from this study highlight the value clinical nurses place on having access to work-based and clinically focussed education and development. Relevant on-the-job professional education has the potential to improve job satisfaction and retention of clinical nurses, thus ultimately directly and positively influence patient care.