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An exploration of how specialist dementia nurses perceive and maintain the skills and competencies that frame their specialism: A qualitative survey

Brown, Pat; Cooper, Claudia; Dening, Karen Harrison; Hoe, Juanita; Burton, Alexandra; (2024) An exploration of how specialist dementia nurses perceive and maintain the skills and competencies that frame their specialism: A qualitative survey. Heliyon , 10 (7) , Article e27856. 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e27856. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: UK policy for complex and long-term health conditions including dementia has recommended that specialist nursing intervention is offered across the trajectory of the condition, but there is a lack of agreement regarding the skills and competencies that specialist nurses are expected to possess. Admiral Nurses are the largest UK group of specialist dementia nurses. OBJECTIVE: To explore how Admiral Nurses met and were supported to meet competencies as defined in the Admiral Nurse Competency Framework, and to develop and maintain skills as dementia specialists. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, semi-structured survey. SETTING: Online national survey. PARTICIPANTS: Admiral (specialist dementia) Nurses. METHODS: We co-designed our survey with Admiral Nurses; then invited Admiral Nurses to complete it in 2022-23 Data were analysed thematically. RESULTS: 68 (20% of all Admiral Nurses) completed the survey; most were female (85.2%), from a white ethnic group (88.2%); they reported on average 24 years of nursing experience. We identified three themes in responses: 1. Having time and skills for meaningful support, explored how participants were resourced with time and skills to understand and address family carer client needs by active listening, tailoring person-centred support, and “walking alongside” families. 2. Partnering family carers, concerned how they co-designed interventions with family carers, learning from these collaborative partnerships where expertise was shared. 3. Practice and peer-based learning, explored how participants took responsibility for using available training, peer learning and self-reflection to develop their practice. CONCLUSIONS: Admiral Nurse roles enabled respondents to develop as autonomous practitioners and to access resources that supported them to build and sustain their dementia specialist practice. Learning was practice based, through partnerships with family carer clients, peer support and self-directed learning. Specialist nursing models may help address the global health workforce emergency, through enabling creative practice development and valued roles that support retention of experienced nurses.

Type: Article
Title: An exploration of how specialist dementia nurses perceive and maintain the skills and competencies that frame their specialism: A qualitative survey
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e27856
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e27856
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10190588
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