Using the Focus Group and Delphi Methods to Explore the Scope of Practice of Nurse Assistants and Its Impact on Nursing Care Models in Taiwan

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Su-Hua Tsai, RN, BS
Nursing Department, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital(KMUH), Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Yao-Mei Chen, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing/ College of Nursing, Kaohsiung Municipal HsiaoKang Hospital (KMHK)/ Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to explore the nursing staff on professional division and nursing assistant job content.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to integration of the nursing expert advice and uggest the scope of practice of nurse assistants.


The aims of this study are (1) to establish a preliminary scope of practice for nurse assistants and (2) to collect insights of possible impact on the current nursing care models in Taiwan, through two qualitative strategies, i.e., the focus groups from clinical nurses and the Delphi methods from nursing experts.


This study adopts a qualitative research design. The first stage is to invite 5-10 clinical nurses for interview using focus groups. The second is to build up consensus from 10-20 nursing experts using Delphi methods. Participants will be recruited from two hospitals in southern Taiwan. A semi-structured questionnaire will guide the interviews in the focus groups until the data are saturated. Through content analyses, the results from focus groups will then be formulated to collect the viewpoints from nursing experts until a consensus is reached.


The study is currently under investigation and is expected to be completed in three months. By then, we will be able to develop a preliminary scope of practice of nurse assistants that fits to the needs of clinical nursing practice and the consensus of nursing experts from nursing administration and nursing education.


The increased nurses’ workloads and workplace conflicts as well as the high nurse turnover and job vacancies have compromised healthcare quality, professional development, patient safety, and personnel morale. The Department of Health in Taiwan has claimed to “reform nursing” in 2012; One strategy is to establish nursing skill-mixed model. Yet, no standard scope of practice, so far, has been installed for nurse assistants. The results will be suggested nursing care models with skill-mixed by registered nurses and nurse assistants may emerge through the process.