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Job enrichment: creating meaningful career development opportunities for nurses

Authors

  • Christine Duffield RN, DipNEd, BScN, MHP, PhD,

    Professor, Associate Dean (Research), Director, Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    • Correspondence

      Christine Duffield

      Centre for Health Services Management

      Faculty of Health

      University of Technology, Sydney

      Level 7, 235–253 Jones Street

      (PO Box 123)

      Broadway

      NSW 2007

      Australia

      E-mail: christine.duffield@uts.edu.au

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  • Richard Baldwin RN, AssDipNursAdmin, BHlthAdmin, MBA,

    Honorary Associate
    1. Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Michael Roche DipApplSc Nurs, BSc Nurs, MHSc, PhD,

    Senior Lecturer
    1. Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Sarah Wise LLB, MSc

    Research Assistant
    1. Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Abstract

Aim

This paper presents an evaluation of a career development policy in South Australia which increased the number of senior staff nurse positions and provided senior registered nurses with time away from clinical duties to undertake agreed projects. We use Kanter's model of structural power and commitment theory to understand the dimensions of this policy.

Background

Development strategies for experienced staff who wish to remain at the bedside are needed, especially in smaller health services with limited opportunities for horizontal or vertical mobility.

Methods

Face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted with 54 senior staff nurses who participated in the career structure arrangements.

Results

The policy enhanced the structure of opportunity in three ways: by increasing the number of senior staff nurse positions, the ladder steps were improved; undertaking strategic projects developed new skills; and the job enrichment approach facilitated time out from the immediate pressures of ward work and challenged nurses in a different way.

Conclusions

Through job enrichment, South Australia has found a novel way of providing meaningful career development opportunities for experienced nurses.

Implications for nursing management

Methods of job enrichment need to be considered as part of career development policy, especially where movement between clinical facilities is limited and staff wish to remain at the bedside.

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