Exploring registered nurses’ attitudes towards postgraduate education in Australia: An overview of the literature

Linda C Ng, Anthony G Tuckett, Stephanie K Fox-Young, Victoria J Kain


Background: Nursing education is designed to prepare competent nurses to meet the current and future health care needs of society.  The nursing profession responds to changes in health care needs by exploring new methods for providing care, by changing educational emphases, and by establishing practice standards in new areas.

Aim: This literature overview examines issues relating to postgraduate education for specialty nursing practice.

Methods: For this literature review, the following computerised databases: CINAHL, PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, Scopus, ERIC, BERA, Cochrane and PsycINFO were used to identify journal articles, books and book chapters using key search terms in various combinations. Whilst there was no time limit imposed upon this search, a guiding evaluation framework and specific criteria did necessarily and purposefully de-limit the review.

Results: As this review sought to examine registered nurses’ attitudes towards postgraduate education for specialty practice, the literature search was informed by studies that assessed only participants’ acquisition of knowledge and skills as well as changes in attitudes and behaviours. The articles and reports extracted through the initial literature search, and subjected to the exclusion criteria, were then reviewed and categorised according to the three themes developed from the modification to Barr et al.’s Evaluative Framework.

Conclusions: There are a number of issues associated with registered nurses’ attitudes to postgraduate education for specialty practice. The literature provides some insight into the benefits they perceive as accruing from such study.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n2p162

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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