Twenty-four hour care: implications for the role and developmental needs of nurses in acute and community settings


Daniel Kelly
School of Health & Social Sciences
Middlesex University
2–10 Highgate Hill
London N19 5LW


Aim(s)  The aim of this study was to explore the challenges of providing continuity within the 24-hour nursing service. It explored why nurses work at night and what issues this raises for them.

Background  The manner in which new ways of working affect the work or CPD (Continuing Professional Development) requirements of ward-based nurses or their community counterparts has received little attention. The aim of this study was to explore these issues with a diverse sample of practitioners.

Method(s)  Twenty-seven staff from four settings (two acute trusts and two community teams) participated in this qualitative study employing focus groups and interviews.

Results  The nature of night nursing is changing; expanded roles and responsibilities are common. However, CPD remains problematic, as a result of constraints around time and access. Context-specific issues shape the nature of night working in acute and community settings and should be considered when planning CPD.

Conclusion(s)  There is a need to re-examine what CPD is available for practitioners providing care around the clock. Traditional forms of CPD may not reflect the evolving reality of practice at night.

Implications for Nursing Management  There is a need to ensure CPD opportunities are reviewed regularly to reflect changing 24-hour service demands in all settings.