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Int J Nurs Stud. 2000 Oct;37(5):389-400.

Recognising advancing nursing practice: evidence from two observational studies.

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  • 1The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London, James Clark Maxwell Building, Waterloo Road, London, UK.


Debates over title, grades and relationships across the profession has tended to dominate the literature in advancing nursing practice. Fewer research projects have attempted to study the activities of nurses who are designated as undertaking advancing nursing roles. One study evaluating Masters courses for Clinical Nursing Practice and a second addressing the impact of the 'Scope of Professional Practice' (United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery & Health Visiting, 1992) document by this team of authors afforded these research opportunities. In this paper empirical data from 'reflective' observation with 19 nurses (including midwives and health visitors) are presented to illustrate the range and type of functions undertaken by a small group of practitioners developing their practice. A number of characteristic features emerged. Assessment of individual and group needs, positive motivation to constantly improve practice, inter-disciplinary and cross agency working for planned change and an ability to identify and prioritize service requirements were recognised in these nurses' roles. Certain personal attributes were seen to be essential for successful role development such as confidence, commitment and problem solving powers combined with a positive working environment and supportive managers.

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