Nursing and midwifery workforce challenges for the Northern Territory
: a qualitative study investigating opportunities for the introduction of clinician-led workforce research

  • Katharina Voit

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    This study aimed at investigating levels of interest in, and capacity for, clinician-led workforce research within the Northern Territory nursing and midwifery sectors. The overarching research question was what mechanisms, structures, or facilitators would be required to stimulate a workforce research culture. The research is motivated by the assumption that policy efforts might benefit from engaging clinicians in both ‘formulating the issues’ and suggesting responses. While this approach has been shown effective in the context of clinical research, where clinician-led research leads to enhanced clinical practice by nurses and midwives, the engagement of clinicians in workforce-related research has received relatively little consideration within the literature.

    The theories of knowledge creation and organisational learning were used as a theoretical foundation to explain how institutional support might assist in introducing capacity-building strategies for workforce research. The limited research among the nursing and midwifery professions has traditionally been seen as a failure on the part of the individual, with little consideration of organisational responsibility.

    This research is based on a qualitative study exploring the most pressing workforce issues as perceived by a sample of nurses, midwives, and nursing and midwifery managers. It investigated interest into researching these issues and examined the organisational support structures required to facilitate the engagement of clinicians in workforce research.

    The findings suggest limited research exposure and experience among the sample studied. Levels of confidence were generally low, although high levels of enthusiasm were reported. While the current system might allow for self-supported research activity, this study identified a lack of strategic commitment to developing internal knowledge creation capacity. System-wide approaches tend to be overwhelmingly focussed on short-term business strategies, with little consideration devoted to engaging clinicians in direction setting for the organisation.
    Date of AwardAug 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDean Carson (Supervisor) & Greg Rickard (Supervisor)

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