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Priorities for the professional development of registered nurses in nursing homes: a Delphi study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Barbara Hanratty



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Objective: To establish a consensus on the care and professional development needs of registered nurses employed by UK care homes Design: Two stage, online modified Delphi study Setting and participants: A panel (n=352) of individuals with experience, expertise or interest in care home nursing: (i) care home nurses and managers; (ii) community healthcare professionals (including general practitioners, geriatricians, specialist and district nurses); and (iii) nurse educators in higher education. Results: Registered nurses employed by nursing homes require particular skills, knowledge, competence and experience to provide high quality care for older residents. The most important responsibilities for the nursing home nurse were: promoting dignity, personhood and wellbeing, ensuring resident safety and enhancing quality of life. Continuing professional development priorities included personal care, dementia care and managing long-term conditions. The main barrier to professional development was staff shortages. Nursing degree programmes were perceived as inadequately preparing nurses for a nursing home role. Nursing homes could improve by providing supportive learning opportunities for students and fostering challenging and rewarding careers for newly registered nurses. Conclusion: If nurses employed by nursing homes are not fit for purpose, the consequences for the wider health and social care system are significant. Nursing homes, the NHS, educational and local authorities need to work together to provide challenging and rewarding career paths for registered nurses and evaluate them. Without well-trained, motivated staff, a high quality care sector will remain merely an aspiration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cooper E, Spilsbury K, McCaughan D, Thompson C, Butterworth T, Hanratty B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Age and Ageing

Year: 2017

Volume: 46

Issue: 1

Pages: 39-45

Print publication date: 19/01/2017

Online publication date: 08/09/2016

Acceptance date: 13/07/2016

Date deposited: 27/07/2016

ISSN (print): 0002-0729

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afw160


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