Perspectives and experiences of nurses as facilitators within a Practice Development program

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Collegian, 2018, 25 (1), pp. 3 - 10
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Australian College of Nursing Ltd Background: Health services are challenged to change and adapt to meet the changing needs of the populations they serve. To support this, the ‘Essentials of Care’ Practice Development program was developed in Australia. Local facilitators play a key role in its delivery and achievements. Aims: This study aimed to gain insights into the experiences of clinical nurses in Practice Development facilitation roles in an acute hospital, including training for the role and changes occurring within themselves and their workplaces. Methods: A qualitative interpretive design used purposive sampling for a two-phase study using semi structured interviews and focus groups with data analysed using Framework Analysis. Results: Twelve Registered Nurses with an average of two years’ experience in a facilitator role were interviewed and attended focus groups in 2011. Five key themes were identified: (1) facilitator as enabler, (2) the necessary team approach to facilitation, (3) valuing both internal and external models of facilitation, (4) preparation and training for role, and (5) perceived changes: to the facilitator and to the workplace. Individuals’ ongoing development resulted from reflection, mentorship, role-modelling and co-facilitation; facilitation skills were recognised as relevant for nursing beyond their Program role. Ward culture gains were valued as distinct from measurable patient outcomes such as reduced medication errors. Conclusion: Findings provide insights into facilitators’ experiences of this Practice Development role and contribute to better understanding of effective processes for nursing practice change in acute health services. Recommendations were proposed to support future role and post-holder development.
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