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Protecting an endangered species: the contribution and constraints of nurses working in a specialist role

Authors

  • Gillian McCorkell BSc (Hons) Nursing, RN,

    RN Lead Nurse Research & Development, Corresponding author
    1. Western Health and Social Care Trust, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Londonderry, UK
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  • Geraldine Brown BSc (Hons) Specialist Nursing Practice,

    RMN Assistant Director of Secondary Care Primary Care & Older People's Services
    1. Western Health and Social Care Trust, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Londonderry, UK
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  • Bernie Michaelides BSc (Hons) Nursing, RN, Dip D/n, PGD Health Service Management,

    Head of Intermediate Care/Lead Nurse
    1. Western Health and Social Care Trust, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Londonderry, UK
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  • Vivien Coates BA, MPhil, PhD, RN

    RN Assistant Director of Nursing (R&D), Professor in Nursing Research
    1. Western Health and Social Care Trust, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Londonderry, UK
    2. Institute of Nursing Research and School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Ulster, UK
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Abstract

Aim

The project aims to assess current specialist practice in relation to the new and ever-changing healthcare climate and explore some of the issues that specialist nurses encounter.

Background

The current financial recession is driving a range of economic policy changes and consequently service provision, in particular the work and impact of nurses working in a specialist role, being examined. This has resulted in many specialist nurses feeling very vulnerable.

Method

A cross sectional survey was completed by nurses working in specialist roles (n = 96) in a large health and social care setting in the United Kingdom.

Findings

A response rate of 62% was achieved: 44% provide nurse led clinics and 42% are nurse prescribers. The mean length of time qualified as a registered nurse was 27 years. Less than a third felt that the current computer system for activity recording reflected their current workload and 65% needed administrative support.

Conclusion

This study demonstrates the insufficient resources available to specialist nurses resulting in inappropriate but necessary, use of time and restricted opportunities for learning and development

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