The aim was to explore the major concerns of specialist nurses pertaining to academic learning during their education and initial professional career. Specialist nursing education changed in tandem with the European educational reform in 2007. At the same time, greater demands were made on the healthcare services to provide evidence-based and safe patient-care. These changes have influenced specialist nursing programmes and consequently the profession. Grounded Theory guided the study. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire with open-ended questions distributed at the end of specialist nursing programmes in 2009 and 2010. Five universities were included. Further, individual, pair and group interviews were used to collect data from 12 specialist nurses, 5-14 months after graduation. A major concern for specialist nurses was that academic learning should be "meaningful" for their professional future. The specialist nurses' "meaningful academic learning process" was characterised by an ambivalence of partly believing in and partly being hesitant about the significance of academic learning and partly receiving but also lacking support. Specialist nurses were influenced by factors in two areas: curriculum and healthcare context. They felt that the outcome of contribution to professional confidence was critical in making academic learning meaningful.
The objective of this decision support synthesis was to identify and review published and grey literature and to conduct stakeholder interviews to (1) describe the distinguishing characteristics of clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) role definitions and competencies relevant to Canadian contexts, (2) identify the key barriers and facilitators for the effective development and utilization of CNS and NP roles and (3) inform the development of evidence-based recommendations for the individual, organizational and system supports required to better integrate CNS and NP roles into the Canadian healthcare system and advance the delivery of nursing and patient care services in Canada. Four types of advanced practice nurses (APNs) were the focus: CNSs, primary healthcare nurse practitioners (PHCNPs), acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) and a blended CNS/NP role. We worked with a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional advisory board that helped identify documents and key informant interviewees, develop interview questions and formulate implications from our findings. We included 468 published and unpublished English- and French-language papers in a scoping review of the literature. We conducted interviews in English and French with 62 Canadian and international key informants (APNs, healthcare administrators, policy makers, nursing regulators, educators, physicians and other team members). We conducted four focus groups with a total of 19 APNs, educators, administrators and policy makers. A multidisciplinary roundtable convened by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation formulated evidence-informed policy and practice recommendations based on the synthesis findings. This paper forms the foundation for this special issue, which contains 10 papers summarizing different dimensions of our synthesis. Here, we summarize the synthesis methods and the recommendations formulated at the roundtable.
Changes in the delivery of health care and changes in population characteristics and health care requirements mandate changing requirements in nursing education. This is necessary to meet patient and family needs and to deliver quality health care. This paper describes the background to nursing education in the Nordic countries and gives an account of an initiative in Norway to prepare advanced practice nurses for clinical practice in this dynamic environment.
The population-based Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) provides two-yearly screening by both nurse examiner clinical breast examination (CBE) and two-view mammography to women aged 50 to 69. CBE alone accounts for about 5% of cancer detection. The purpose of this study was to determine whether CBE information affects radiologists' interpretation of mammography. Interpretation was defined by 1) radiologists' referral rates for diagnostic evaluation and 2) radiologists' accuracy in distinguishing cancer from non-cancer on mammograms. Mammograms were obtained from women randomly selected from those screened in the OBSP between 1990 and 1992. Selection was stratified by whether or not the nurse examiner had independently referred for diagnostic evaluation. Additional women diagnosed with breast cancer were selected to increase the precision of the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Each participating OBSP radiologist read a set of mammograms twice, approximately three weeks apart. The first reading was based on mammograms alone. At the second reading, the CBE report was included on the reporting form. Among 620 women referred by the nurse, radiologist referral rate increased from 37.7% to 40.8% (p = 0.079) when CBE information was available. Among the 637 not referred by the nurse, radiologist referral rate decreased from 29.8% to 25.6% (p = 0.005). There was little effect on the sensitivity and specificity of radiologist referral and the areas under the two ROC curves (with and without CBE information) were not significantly different (p = 0.571). Although there was some effect of CBE information on radiologists' pattern of referral, there was no effect on accuracy of cancer detection.