The impact of Masters degree education in nursing and midwifery: a case study within an inner city acute NHS trust

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1 The impact of Masters degree education in nursing and midwifery: a case study within an inner city acute NHS trust Ruth Harris, Kingston University & St George s, University of London Andy McEwen, University College London Eleni Vangeli, University College London RCN Annual International Nursing Research Conference, 13 May 2010

2 Background Nursing should become a research-based profession (Briggs, 1972). Structured, funded career pathway for nurse researchers offers the best opportunity to do this (UK Clinical Research Collaboration UKCRC, 2007). Education at Masters level forms an integral part of this research development strategy. The development of advanced clinical roles for nurses there has been a proliferation in the availability of Masters courses in nursing. Little is known about the impact these postgraduate degrees have had on the careers and performance of nurses (Ashworth et al 2001).

3 Study aims 1. To explore the range of support nurses receive from their employer when studying for a masters degree 2. Explore nurses reasons for undertaking a masters degree and the perceived outcomes of holding the degree 3. To identify existing high quality pieces of clinically relevant research and to assist with their publication in peer-reviewed journals 3

4 Study aims 1. To explore the range of support nurses receive from their employer when studying for a masters degree 2. Explore nurses reasons for undertaking a masters degree and the perceived outcomes of holding the degree 3. To identify existing high quality pieces of clinically relevant research and to assist with their publication in peerreviewed journals 4

5 1. To explore the range of support nurses receive from their employer when studying for a masters degree Identify all nurses who hold, or who are currently studying for, a Master s degree Investigate the criteria by which nurses are awarded support (and the range of this support) for their studies and explore Trust manager s perceptions of the benefits to the Trust for providing support 5

6 Range of support that nurses receive when studying for Master s degrees Maximum funding (% of fees) Mean: 80% Range: % Minimum funding (% of fees) Mean: 27.5% Range: 0 60% Maximum study leave (number of days per course year) Minimum study leave (number of days per course year) Mean: 15 days Range: 5-30 days Mean: 8.75 days Range: 5-15 days 6

7 Criteria by which nurses are awarded support for their studies Impact of the masters on clinical service, on an individual basis. Relevance to role within the Trust; links to service requirements; length of service with Trust/ NHS; relevance to training needs analysis; performance at IPR; fit with Personal Development Plan. If masters course is relevant to job then support is granted. Direct benefit of improved clinical and managerial skills. I would support any masters if I feel the individual has researched it properly, considered how it will affect their work and life, and clearly are keen to do it.also need to be academically able. Often discussed as part of IPR for senior staff if felt would be beneficial to their progress. Needs to be applicable to current area of work and to be of benefit.

8 Trust managers perceptions of the benefits for the Trust for providing support Some higher education linked to person specifications at band 7 and above but often desirable not essential. Therefore can contribute to job promotion and individual development. But it was thought that potential benefit e.g. publication of thesis or posters was not maximised. Skills development; Valuing staff; Increase staff motivation. Direct benefit of improved clinical and managerial skills. Direct and indirect benefits. Direct in terms of knowledge and skill related to subject area, indirect in terms of developing critical thinking and alternative perspectives.

9 Study aims 1. To explore the range of support nurses receive from their employer when studying for a masters degree 2. Explore nurses reasons for undertaking a masters degree and the perceived outcomes of holding the degree 3. To identify existing high quality pieces of clinically relevant research and to assist with their publication in peerreviewed journals 9

10 Explore nurses reasons for undertaking a masters degree and the perceived outcomes of holding the degree Biographical interviews with nurses Individual semi-structured interviews Interview schedule included questions about sequential career progression and educational activities A technique that provides a unique insight into the interrelationship between career progression and education. A life course perspective was used to capture the diversity of experience. The approach used was based on work by Crompton et al (2003) in their study Organisations, careers and caring and Bennett et al (2007) in their study Nurses working in mid-life. 10

11 Sample 52 nurses who had an Masters degree or were currently studying for one were invited by to participate. 1 nurse had left the trust and 1 undeliverable = 50 nurses received invitation. 10 responded saying they were interested in participating Interviews arranged with 5 nurses. Age, range years Band, range 7-8d Time at trust, range - 6 months - 15 years

12 An example of a biographical timeline Year Age Event Qualified as an EN Started trying to get on a conversion course (took 2-3 years) EN to RN conversion PT course (14 months) Awarded RGN. Started working on a Neurosurgery unit ENB Neuro course 6/12 FT ENB Teaching and assessing Senior Staff Nurse, Neurosurgery Senior Staff Nurse, neurorehab as no junior sister post in surgery Sister, neurorehab Practice Educator Post grad diploma started Masters finished Practice Educator, full time band 7

13 Data analysis Framework analysis (Ritchie and Spencer) Thematic template identified Expectations of completing the masters Support at work for doing the masters Impact of masters on family/social life Benefits of masters on work life Research skill development Support at education institution for doing masters

14 Expectations of and reasons for completing the masters Career progression and recognition Convenient to do it Confident from doing diploma Achieve degree status (credibility) Specialist skill development

15 Expectations of and reasons for completing the masters Career progression and recognition Convenient to do it Confident from doing diploma Achieve degree status (credibility) Specialist skill development

16 Expectations of and reasons for completing the masters Career progression and recognition Convenient to do it Confident from doing diploma Achieve degree status (credibility) Specialist skill development

17 Expectations of and reasons for completing the masters Career progression and recognition Convenient to do it Confident from doing diploma Achieve degree status (credibility) Specialist skill development

18 Expectations of and reasons for completing the masters Career progression and recognition Convenient to do it Confident from doing diploma Achieve degree status (credibility) Specialist skill development

19 Expectations of and reasons for completing the masters Career progression and recognition Convenient to do it Confident from doing diploma Achieve degree status (credibility) Specialist skill development

20 Support at work for doing the masters Encouragement to do masters from a range of sources Financial support from employing trust ranged from 0 to 100% Study leave also varied from 0% to 100%, nature of work affected this.

21 Impact of masters on family/social life Really difficult to balance studying and family life Had to be disciplined Support from partners very important

22 Impact of masters on family/social life Really difficult to balance studying and family life Had to be disciplined Support from partners very important

23 Impact of masters on family/social life Really difficult to balance studying and family life Had to be disciplined Support from partners very important

24 Impact of masters on family/social life Really difficult to balance studying and family life Had to be disciplined Support from partners very important

25 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

26 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

27 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

28 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

29 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

30 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

31 Benefits of masters on work life Development in analytical, thinking skills Development of professionalism Confidence (credibility) Gained wider perspective of healthcare Opens some career opportunities Little development of clinical practice although some consolidation

32 Research skill development Applicability of research to practice/ service development was considered important. Dissertation was difficult, struggled to do research Want to publish but time is an issue and concern about quality

33 Research skill development Applicability of research to practice/ service development was considered important. Dissertation was difficult, struggled to do research Want to publish but time is an issue and concern about quality

34 Research skill development Applicability of research to practice/ service development was considered important. Dissertation was difficult, struggled to do research Want to publish but time is an issue and concern about quality

35 Research skill development Applicability of research to practice/ service development was considered important. Dissertation was difficult, struggled to do research Want to publish but time is an issue and concern about quality

36 Support at education institution for doing masters Some had an inspiring supervisor For others, supervisor did not understand needs Networking and peer support important

37 Support at education institution for doing masters Some had an inspiring supervisor For others, supervisor did not understand needs Networking and peer support important

38 Support at education institution for doing masters Some had an inspiring supervisor For others, supervisor did not understand needs Networking and peer support important

39 Support at education institution for doing masters Some had an inspiring supervisor For others, supervisor did not understand needs Networking and peer support important

40 Key discussion points No centrally held record of nurses with Masters degrees Huge variation in support offered to nurses Perception of little impact on clinical work Need for clarity in the role of masters degrees in nursing

41 Future action Attempt to identify and obtain copies of Master s dissertations completed by nurses in the Trust in the last five years Dissertations will be assessed for suitability for publication. Assistance will be offered to prepare a manuscript for submission for publication. Feasibility to repeat study within other Trusts will be assessed. 41

42 Thank you very much For further details:

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