Nurses', midwives' and health visitors' perceptions of the impact of higher education on professional practice.Nurse Educ Today. 2006 Jan; 26(1):45-53.NE
This study examines the perceptions of qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors of the impact of higher education on professional practice.
This is a qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. A non-probability convenience sample of 12 qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors who had enrolled upon a Master of Science programme in Professional Practice at a United Kingdom Higher Education Institution in the East Midlands were interviewed using semi-structured interviews, which were audio-taped and analysed using Colaizzi (1978) [Colaizzi, P., 1978. Psychological research as a phenomenologist views it. In: Valle, R., King, M., (Eds.), Existential Phenomenological Alternatives for Psychology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 48-71] approach. Approval to undertake this study was received from the University's Research Ethics Committee.
Four themes emerged from the interview data. These were personal and professional motivation, workplace constraints, valuing "hands-on" nursing and client contact, and challenging and questioning practice. From the respondents' perspective, there was a strong view that higher education has a positive effect in practice, but a significant number of factors including time and support seemed to inhibit the possible benefits in practice. These are discussed in relation to the findings from similar studies.
This study has highlighted the need for further research to explore the impact of higher education on client care and service delivery.