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Experiences of the Master of Nursing Science programme and transition to practice 

A 2019/2020 Summer Studentship research project

In practical terms, findings will be used in several ways; first, students have already indicated that they find it valuable that there is an interest in learning about their experiences and they appreciate the opportunity to ‘de brief’; second, to inform evolution of the teaching programme; third, to identify barriers and facilitators to successful transitions to clinical practice.

Student: Anna Rumbold
Supervisors: Associate Professor Lee Thompson, Associate Professor Philippa Seaton
Sponsor: University of Otago, Christchurch – Department of Population Health

Introduction

Nursing workforce shortages within coming decades are well documented. Concerns have been raised about the size, skills, and diversity of this future workforce. Both internationally and locally, calls to develop different models of clinical education have been advanced in order to address these concerns. Intensified models involving recruitment of students who already have undergraduate degrees have been developed internationally. These graduate entry programmes have operated for about a decade in some countries, but are new to New Zealand. The first New Zealand graduate entry nursing programme was developed and delivered for the first time in 2016 at the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

Graduate entry programmes are intensified, two rather than three year, routes into nursing practice. Graduates are expected to have both beginning practitioner clinical skills and Masters level clinical reasoning and research skills. Internationally, graduate entry programmes have attracted students from a different pool than conventional programmes and they have been found to attract more men and people from different ethnic groups. Attrition rates are lower from graduate programmes and once in practice, graduates are more likely to work full-time and stay longer in their first jobs. Intensified programme graduates have been found to add value in clinical care environments as a result of their diverse educational and previous work backgrounds as well as their rapid adaptation and effectiveness in clinical nursing roles.

In spite of the clear strengths identified in the international literature with regards to graduate entry programmes, there is some evidence that they are not without their challenges. The small amount of literature that does exist, indicates that students face a range of issues surrounding the compressed nature of the course and once in practice, students experience, for example, deep satisfaction with their career change, but can also be faced with suspicion from colleagues.

We are presently conducting a longitudinal qualitative study with two cohorts of students from the University of Otago, Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) entitled: The graduate entry Master of Nursing Science: learning, teaching and practising. Our design involves individual interviews with students once per year for five years. In 2017 we interviewed nine students from the second cohort of the MNSc programme. In 2018, we interviewed these students a second time, and recruited and interviewed fourteen students from the third cohort, making 23 students in total. We will carry out the third, and first since graduation, interview with cohort two and the second with cohort three in the middle of 2019.

Aim

The overall aim of this summer studentship is to analyse the qualitative data derived from the interviews we will have already conducted in 2019 and write up a report for each student cohort.

Method

The qualitative data for this summer studentship will have already been collected. The focus of the project is then on analysis of the data. The data will be coded and analysed thematically following the schema outlined by Braun and Clarke (2006). Using this approach, data are subjected to close and repeated reading, coding, and identification of sub-themes that are common across multiple participants, before being combined into a smaller number of larger and more significant themes. Existing, relevant, academic literature will be bought to bear as part of the data analysis.

Student researcher’s component of the study

The student researcher will be responsible for conducting a brief review of the literature. The student will be trained in data coding and analysis as detailed above. S/he will be responsible for writing the first draft of a report for each cohort.

Student Prerequisites

Student who is comfortable with qualitative data and a sound writer

How to apply

Email lee.thompson@otago.ac.nz