Job titles and education requirements of registered nurses in primary care: a research practicum

Barrett, Crystal V. (2021) Job titles and education requirements of registered nurses in primary care: a research practicum. Practicum Report. Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Unpublished)

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Background: Registered nurses (RNs) are becoming increasingly involved in primary care settings, taking on a variety of roles that differ based on independent competency, practice setting and funding model, and the individual or community needs. These roles and scopes of practice of RNs in primary care have been found to differ across countries, leading to ambiguity among job titles used to refer to RNs in primary care settings. Similarly, education requirements specific to primary care nurses have not been explored and therefore are not well understood for this particular specialty. An international synthesis of job titles and education requirements for RNs in primary care can help future researchers and policymakers with cross-country comparisons to improve the integration and impact of RNs in primary care settings. Purpose: The purpose of this Master of Nursing research practicum was to develop qualitative research skills by synthesizing international information to clarify job titles and education requirements of RNs in primary care. Methods: A document analysis was employed with modified methodology, carrying out content analysis on included documents, while forgoing thematic analysis as data did not require the coding process to generate themes or categories. In addition, key informant consultations were carried out for each included country to verify the correctness and completeness of data. All Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and key partner countries were considered for inclusion (n=42); countries were excluded if data could not be collected and verified in the English or French language. A manuscript was prepared and submitted to the International Journal of Nursing Studies. An abstract for E-poster digital presentation was submitted to the International Council of Nurses Congress, a virtual meeting in November 2021. Results: A total of 24 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and key partner countries were included in this study. Five countries were excluded for a lack of available data/sources in English or French, and 13 additional countries were excluded because data was not verified by key informants. The most commonly used job titles for RNs in primary were “primary care nurse” and “general practice nurse.” Various other job titles were used such as “primary health care nurse,” “community nurse,” and “family nurse.” Consistently, there were no mandatory education requirements for RNs to practice in primary care; however, many countries had optional education programs/courses available for RNs to gain additional education specific to primary care nursing. There was an isolated incidence of mandatory education in Slovenia where RNs were required to complete education modules to practice in a specific area of primary care, known as the model of family practice. Conclusions: This manuscript synthesized findings that express the international inconsistency among job titles for RNs in primary care, and the lack of mandatory education for RNs to practice in primary care. This fundamental information in primary care nursing can contribute to the ongoing developments that are required to clarify and optimize this role internationally. Integrating these findings into future research, education, practice, and policy across countries can help advance this nursing specialty, while improving patient outcomes and care delivery within primary healthcare systems.

Item Type: Report (Practicum Report)
Item ID: 14808
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-74).
Department(s): Nursing, Faculty of
Date: April 2021
Date Type: Submission
Medical Subject Heading: Education, Nursing; Primary Health Care

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