The role of practice development nurses in Malta
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The role of practice development nurses in Malta

Elmira Petrova Senior nurse, Operating theatres, St James Hospital, Sliema, Malta, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Science, University of Malta, Malta
Michelle Camilleri Senior lecturer and co-ordinator BSc (Hons) Health Science, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Science, University of Malta, Malta

Aim To develop an understanding of the role of practice development nurses in Malta and to identify any barriers or opportunities associated with this role.

Method An exploratory single case study methodology was used. Ten of the total population of 11 practice development nurses agreed to participate in the study. Participants were twice interviewed in person about their understanding of the role. Data were analysed thematically.

Findings The main themes identified were: professional growth through lifelong learning, leadership in a changing practice environment and fostering research-based clinical practice. Participants reported that ambiguities associated with their role, role conflict and unclear hospital infrastructure were barriers to executing their role effectively.

Conclusion Healthcare organisations should create an appropriate working environment that supports practice development nurses and clearly distinguishes their responsibilities and authority. Practice development nurses should become more socio-economically and politically focused to enable them to function strategically and effectively in their clinical working environment.

Nursing Standard. 30, 4,40-48. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.4.40.e9572

Received: 03 September 2014

Accepted: 17 April 2015