Saturday, July 14, 2007
This presentation is part of : Promoting Good Work in Nursing: Global Perspectives on Nursing's Value in a Changing Health Care Environment
Preparing the Next Generation of Nurses: A Qualitative Study Addressing Major Issues Influencing the Profession
Joan F. Miller, RN, PhD, Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, USA

A qualitative study was conducted to determine nurses’ perceptions of: (1) major issues influencing the profession; and (2) how best to prepare the next generation of nurses. Participants included 24 nurses in staff, managerial, and other leadership positions.  Major themes included the changing role of the professional nurse, professional and societal images of nursing, and the need for greater emphasis on professionalism, mentoring, and role modeling as nurses meet the demands of a complex health care environment. The majority of participants expressed concern about the influence of change on the role of the nurse and public perception of professional nursing roles.  Nurse leaders cited a disconnection between academia and practice as a major concern.  Expectations for the new professional nurse often exceed the new nurse’s capacity for professional practice.  In addition, entering professional nurses are often not prepared for the complex roles they must assume.  Nurses in the profession for a maximum of five to seven years stated they lacked the skills necessary to voice their concerns about changes in the practice environment.  They cited education as a necessary step in the preparation of future nurses. They also expressed a need for flexibility and institutional support for advanced education.  Nurse leaders cited mentoring and modeling as essential steps in preparing the next generation of professional nurses.  Several remarked that values they associate with nursing, such as caring and being present for the patient, are often compromised as nurses meet the demands of a rapidly changing health care environment. Nurses at all stages of professional development stressed the need to portray a positive image of nursing for the public.