Meredith, Linda (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2012-04)
Change is a common feature of nursing, influenced by prevailing governments as part of their political agendas. These changes have impacted both on the context within which nursing takes place as well as on the actual role of the nurse. For change agents who are implementing these changes, it is imperative that they are aware of how nurses respond to change in order that they can plan the most effective strategies. This thesis investigated how nurses understand their own practice changes, the process that they undergo, how resistance to change manifests and if nursing rituals have an impact on the process. Finally the thesis made recommendations based on the findings to facilitate effective practice change and development. The study was conducted in two parts. In-depth interviews with eight nurses from one acute NHS Trust made up the first part of the study. A further two interviews were conducted with eleven mental health nurses from an early intervention team in one NHS Mental Health Partnership Trust, and this constituted the second part of the study. Constructivist grounded theory was the research method employed in the design of the study. An underpinning theoretical framework of structural anthropology with specific reference to the work of Levi-Strauss was used to present the final grounded theory. The study found that nurses understood the process of practice change as a spiral with the most significant aspects of practice change at the bottom. These were the day-to-day changes that may or may not lead to permanent change. At the top of the hierarchy and of least significance were the changes imposed by their employing organisations or nationally. The overall personal process of practice change and development was identified from the study as a process that centres on the experiences that participants have in their workplace, a process of sense making, learning and intuition. A Practice Change Model in the form of a continuum was developed that described how nurses respond to practice change and development. The significance of this study is that the thesis was able to identify strategies for promoting effective practice change and development, aimed at nurses in practice, change agents at an organisational and national level, and the clinical link role within higher education.
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