Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Aim: This paper presents an evaluation of a career development policy in South Australia which increased the number of senior staff nurse positions and provided senior registered nurses with time away from clinical duties to undertake agreed projects. We use Kanter's model of structural power and commitment theory to understand the dimensions of this policy. Background: Development strategies for experienced staff who wish to remain at the bedside are needed, especially in smaller health services with limited opportunities for horizontal or vertical mobility. Methods: Face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted with 54 senior staff nurses who participated in the career structure arrangements. Results: The policy enhanced the structure of opportunity in three ways: by increasing the number of senior staff nurse positions, the ladder steps were improved; undertaking strategic projects developed new skills; and the job enrichment approach facilitated time out from the immediate pressures of ward work and challenged nurses in a different way. Conclusions: Through job enrichment, South Australia has found a novel way of providing meaningful career development opportunities for experienced nurses. Implications for nursing management: Methods of job enrichment need to be considered as part of career development policy, especially where movement between clinical facilities is limited and staff wish to remain at the bedside.

Document Type

Journal Article

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