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Keywords:

  • assisted reproductive technology nursing;
  • grounded theory;
  • knowledge;
  • nursing practice;
  • skills

Aims and objectives.  To identify the contextual knowledge and skills required for practice.

Background.  Nursing practice in assisted reproductive technology (ART) makes a significant contribution to patient care. Despite this, the knowledge and skills integral to this area of practice have not been clearly articulated, particularly from an Australian perspective.

Design.  A constructivist grounded theory design was used to gain the perspective of ART nurses in relation to how they understood their clinical practice as well as the issues and challenges that they faced.

Methods.  Individual in-depth interviews were undertaken with 15 registered nurses working in ART units across Australia. Constant comparative data analysis was used to determine the main categories.

Results.  Contextual knowledge and skills was one category to emerge from this research, and this is the focus of this paper. The findings in respect of knowledge and skill included three main subcategories: required skills and knowledge; acquisition of skills and knowledge; and factors influencing acquisition.

Conclusions.  The role of the ART nurse which must be performed within the context and competency standards of nursing requires a framework that could define and contribute to specialised ART nursing practice standards.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The nursing role is instrumental to effective ART treatment and care. The standard of clinical practice will depend in part on the ability of specialist nurses to articulate their practice, and their professional development needs to optimise quality and effectiveness. The results of this study demonstrate that contextual knowledge and skills are a key aspect of this specialised nursing role.