Analysing the role of the PICU nurse to guide education of new graduate nurses
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Background: One strategy to address the current nursing shortage in specialty areas has been to introduce graduate nurse programs. However introducing novice nurses to specialty areas raises concerns around education and competency which, in turn, highlights the need to identify and prioritise the elements of competent paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nursing care considered essential to safe practice. Objectives: To determine the key knowledge, skills and attributes of competent level PICU nurses. Methods: A practice analysis survey of 15 nurse educators was conducted in all eight Australian and New Zealand PICUs during 2008. Three areas of practice essential to PICU nursing competence were explored: patients most commonly cared for; frequency and criticality of activities performed; and level of independence against critical care nursing competency standards. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: Cardiac and respiratory problems accounted for over 50% of patients cared for by competent level nurses. Cardiac and respiratory activities were therefore also ranked as the most important activities. Respondents identified that competency domains of teamwork and professional practice are performed with minimal supervision, whereas clinical problem solving requires supervision and assistance. Conclusions: PICU nurses are performing activities and caring for a breadth of complex patients within a year of entering the workforce. Using a practice analysis to define actual practice and expectations can assist in the identification and prioritisation of content for graduate and other educational programs.
Nurse Education Today
© 2013 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)