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The nursing contribution to health care systems: activities, skills and knowledge

The aim of the study is to examine the nursing contribution to the management and organisation of health care systems.  Although there is a large body of scholarship on nurses’ clinical and therapeutic skills, the nursing contribution to the functioning of health care systems has been less well recognised.  As a consequence, this work is largely invisible to external observers and lacks a language through which it can be articulated and incorporated into educational processes.  Foundational work is required to develop a deeper understanding of this component of the nursing role and identify the skills and knowledge that underpin it.  This is necessary to ensure that nursing can realise its full potential to contribute to the quality and safety of health care.  The aim of the study is to:

Render visible through in-depth description and examination those components of the nursing function in clinically-focused roles which contribute to the management and organisation of health care systems;

  • Identify the associated underpinning knowledge and skills;
  • Explore the contribution of nurses’ organising work to the quality and safety of patient care;
  • Examine the relationship between frontline nurses’ contribution to the management and organisation of health care systems and other core nursing functions in different contexts.

Qualitative case studies of nurses working in different roles and in different contexts are the main source of data.  Individual nurses will be observed during normal work activities and will also participate in an interview.  The aim is to identify the full breadth of activities undertaken by front-line nurses that contribute to the organisation and management of health care systems.

Funding Source: The study was undertaken during a sabbatical awarded by the Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies