Discrimination of educational outcomes between differing levels of critical care programmes by selected stakeholders in Australia: A mixed-method approach

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Journal Article
Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 2008, 24 (2), pp. 68 - 77
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Objective: This study was designed to prioritise educational outcomes for three levels of postgraduate speciality critical care nursing programmes. Background: Postgraduate speciality education has proliferated within Australia over the past 20 years. However, there is little agreement regarding the expected characteristics, or relevant priorities, of these characteristics of graduates successfully completing these programmes of study. Method: This study used a mixed-method approach comprising two phases. Initially a survey was mailed to volunteers between March and June 2005 to obtain priorities in educational outcomes for graduates of critical care programmes. This was followed by a stakeholder focus group in May 2006 to refine expected outcomes. Results: Survey respondents rated educational outcomes that described professional and legal aspects of practice to ensure safe patient care as highest priority for programme graduates. Although most educational outcome statements were considered important for graduates from all levels of courses, increasing levels of practice was described for increasingly higher levels of programmes from Graduate Certificate to Masters Degree. Conclusion: This study provides an emerging description of the priorities of critical care nursing programmes, with priority given to professional and legal aspects of practice. Further delineation of priorities is necessary to inform ongoing educational development. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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