Where nurses’ participation in approved Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRP) is voluntary, programme engagement rates are below 20%. A low rate of engagement with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is problematic since improved patient outcomes, timely mobilisation of health resources, and improved clinical decision-making are linked to nurses’ participation in CPD activities. Direct benefits also exist for nurses and include exclusion from nursing council audit, meeting continuing competence requirements, and significant financial allowance with success at some levels. Yet unless compelled, it appears that PDRP is not preferred by nurses.
To explain the factors influencing nurses’ decisions to engage with PDRP, an explanatory-sequential mixed methods research design was used. A postal survey was sent to 142 nurses from one Crown entity. Questions were posed about PDRP knowledge, attitude, and factors influencing the participation decision. Follow-up interviews with 14 survey respondents assisted explanation of the survey findings.
Results showed disconnection between nurses’ understanding of professional regulatory requirements and PDRP outcomes. Nurses did not view PDRP as a means to enhance clinical capability, develop expertise or further their career. Types of evidence used for verification of nursing council competencies and level options strongly influenced nurses. Line manager support is critical. Financial allowances are not a primary influence – perceived relevance to career stage is more important.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Opportunity exists to better communicate links between PDRP and continuing competence. Programme learning outcomes could be designed to showcase PDRP as relevant to capability, expertise and career enhancement. Nurses’ voices are significant in identifying meaningful evidence to verify practice across the workforce age-span.
Key words: PDRP; Continuing Professional Development; influencing factors.