posted Sept. 26, 2012
Professional nursing regulation is not conducted in isolation. Nurses accomplish their role effectively with the contribution of the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC). The College protects the public when nurses understand and follow their standards and code of ethics. Together we provide the foundation for safe, competent and ethical nursing practice.
Our regulatory framework identifies our commitment to relational regulation. We want to strengthen the link between registered nurses and the work of the College.
We wanted to know what nurses and the general public perceive as the role of registered nurses. As we reach this goal, we also wanted to know how both groups think nurses are able to deliver these roles.
In June 2011, CRNBC along with the College & Association Registered Nurses of Aberta (CARNA), College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM), and Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA) conducted focus groups to:
Following the focus groups, a survey in April 2012 was conducted to offer broader input from nurses in British Columbia and included a parallel survey with the public. We also wanted to ask nurses and the public their opinions about specific nursing characteristics as identified in the June 2011 focus groups and survey:
In April 2012, 33,204 B.C. nurses were sent an online survey from CRNBC. We received 4,938 responses.
An identical survey was sent to approximately 10,000 members of the public through IPSOS Reid. We received 533 responses. Public respondents were eliminated if they or a family member work as a registered nurse.
We asked nurses and the public what they think the role of the registered nurse is. The overwhelming response from the public (74.4%) identified providing safe and reliable patient care as being the most important aspect of registered nursing (unaided). Nurses identified safe and reliable care along with a variety of characteristics. Fifteen percent of nurses identified patient advocacy as a characteristic. This was not identified by any member of the public.
Both the public (63.3%) and nurses (53.8%) identified caring as what nurses are best known for. Knowledge and critical thinking was identified by 11.5% of nurses and 3.2% of the public.
There are significant gaps between public perceptions of some aspects of registered nurses' roles when compared to the perception of nurses. Each of the following was perceived as more important by nurses than by the public:
Without considering performance, the public and nurses ranked the importance of various functions as follows:
When asked to rank the performance of nurses on a variety of characteristics the most significant gap between public and nurse perceptions is in the area of registered nurses retaining patient’/client' confidentiality. Overall, the average performance was high and ranked equal or close to equal by both groups with the exception of confidentiality. The registered nurse characteristics respondents were asked to comment on the following attributes (public/nurses index rating):
A further analysis shows that according to the general public, nurses need to improve on:
This further analysis shows that according to nurses, they need to improve on:
The results of this survey will be used by CRNBC as we continue to develop our work as a relational regulator and to assist in positioning registered nurses as regulated professionals.