Undergraduate nursing students’ understanding of professional boundaries in relationships with clients, families and communities.

McClunie-Trust, Patricia (2017) Undergraduate nursing students’ understanding of professional boundaries in relationships with clients, families and communities. Wintec, Hamilton, New Zealand. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or Summary

Understanding how to judge appropriate degrees of closeness and distance in professional relationships is an ongoing challenge for all practitioners, particularly for health professionals working in small communities. In the Waikato region, registered nurses are employed in small communities and rural towns, where they often also live. These nurses may have family connections and/or limited ability to socialise with people other than those people who are likely to be users of the health services they provide within these communities. A critical element of being able to practice as a nurse is the ability to successfully establish, maintain and conclude therapeutic relationships. The New Zealand Nursing Council’s (2012) Code of conduct for nurses stresses the need to respect the degree of public confidence that our communities place in the nursing profession. Nurses are held to trustworthy, knowledgeable and capable health practitioners, who have a high degree of integrity. In professional relationships, boundaries are primarily concerned with weighing up the therapeutic benefit of closeness and distance. The ability to work in partnership with clients within their families and communities requires knowledge, skill and good judgement, particularly where nurses have close and ongoing relationships with clients (McClunie-Trust, 2010). In the Waikato region, as in other parts of New Zealand, our relatively small population means that nurses sometimes already know the people they encounter professionally. The ability to recognise and manage the consequences of complex, challenging, or culturally different relationships is a key in maintaining confidential and therapeutically safe relationships (McClunie-Trust, 2016a, 2016b). The need to recruit nurses to work in rural locations and other small communities that have high or complex health needs, and retain them within the professional challenges that these communities present, is recognised as a global workforce issue (Bushy & Leipert, 2005). Educating nursing students about professional boundaries and providing the opportunity for clinical placements in these communities of need, are important pre-requisites for recruitment (Killam & Carter, 2010). While nursing students learn about professional boundaries in undergraduate programmes, little is known about the extent of students’ knowledge of professional boundaries and their confidence in managing contextual challenges in nurse-client relationships. A mixed methods research approach will be used to elicit 3rd year undergraduate nurses’ understanding of professional boundary management within complex, challenging, or culturally different relationships. An online multiple choice question survey will be used to ascertain students’ responses to case scenarios about professional boundary management. Student participants will also be invited to participate in a focus group to explore their professional judgement about cases presented to them. Ethical considerations will include ensuring that none of the researchers are currently teaching or assessing the student participants. The lead researcher does not work in the undergraduate programme.

Item Type:Other
Additional Information:This application secured $3,000 in funding, which has been used to develop a survey tool. The research will be conducted in February 2018.
Keywords that describe the item:Professional boundaries, nursing, research, undergraduate students
Subjects:R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
ID Code:5761
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Deposited On:21 Jan 2018 22:10
Last Modified:21 Jan 2018 22:10

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