The sustainability of ideals, values and the nursing mandate: evidence from a longitudinal qualitative study
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2007
Volume 14, Issue 2, pages 99–113, June 2007
How to Cite
Maben, J., Latter, S. and Clark, J. M. (2007), The sustainability of ideals, values and the nursing mandate: evidence from a longitudinal qualitative study. Nursing Inquiry, 14: 99–113. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2007.00357.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 18 MAY 2007
- Accepted for publication 1 February 2007
- newly qualified nurses;
- nurse education;
- nursing ideals;
- stress and burnout;
- the nursing mandate.
This article reports on research that examines newly qualified UK nurses’ experiences of implementing their ideals and values in contemporary nursing practice. Findings are presented from questionnaire and interview data from a longitudinal interpretive study of nurses’ trajectories over time. On qualification nurses emerged with a coherent and strong set of espoused ideals around delivering high quality, patient-centred, holistic and evidence-based care. These were consistent with the current UK nursing mandate and had been transmitted and reinforced throughout their ‘prequalification’ programmes. The existence of professional and organisational constraints influenced their ability to implement these ideals and values once in practice. Data analysis revealed that within 2 years in practice the newly qualified nurses could be categorised as sustained idealists, compromised idealists, or crushed idealists. The majority experienced frustration and some level of ‘burnout’ as a consequence of their ideals and values being thwarted. This led to disillusionment, ‘job-hopping’ and, in some cases, a decision to leave the profession. These data are explored and discussed to inform the question of whether the current nursing mandate is sustainable.