The impact of ongoing continuing professional development for nurses in the Republic of Ireland

Evans, W., Timmins, F., Nicholl, H. and Brown, G. (2007) The impact of ongoing continuing professional development for nurses in the Republic of Ireland. Journal of Nursing Management, 15 (6). pp. 614-625. ISSN 09660429 (ISSN)


Aim The aim of this study was to explore and describe the stressors experienced by a group of 70 students who were undertaking a part-time degree in an Irish University. Background Within the literature on stress, part-time nursing students, who are undertaking continuing education programmes, appear to have received little attention. Stress amongst nurses is evident within the nursing literature but little information is available on the specific stressors that affect Registered Nurses who attend further academic study. Furthermore, there is little attention given to comparisons across faculty or between different institutions. Method The authors used quantitative methods to gather a large amount of data on the topic. Data were collected using questionnaires distributed to two groups of students in a classroom setting. Results The top ranking stressor was 'preparing an assignment for submission'. Nursing students were predominantly exposed to stressors associated with assignment completion/submission and balancing work and family commitments. Differences emerged between the groups with regard to the intensity of perceived stressors in relation to academic portions of the programme and also finance. Nine major factors emerged from factor analysis that may form the basis for future studies in this area. Areas related to lectures, relationships with lecturers and the course process were not identified as stressors. Conclusion The results of this study identified common student stressors across two universities, and confirmed the findings of an initial small exploratory study. The intensity of perceived stress is such that both educators and nurse managers need to be informed of both its magnitude and its possible impact upon clinical practice. In addition, additional student support structures are clearly required within the university setting particularly with regards to writing skills and assignment construction. © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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