Background: Globally, many nurses and midwives are working at an advanced practice level. The role of a Nurse and/or Midwife Consultant encompasses a diverse and complex interaction between five specified domains namely Clinical Service and Consultancy, Clinical Leadership, Research, Education, and Clinical Services Planning and Management.
Objective: The objective of this replication study was to identify the key drivers and mitigating factors that impact the role of Australian Nurse and/or Midwife Consultants.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Methods: The study was conducted in a large metropolitan health district in Sydney, Australia. Participants for this study consisted of all Nurse and/or Midwife Consultants working within a health district in New South Wales (NSW). Data were collected by an anonymous online survey. Key drivers and mitigating factors perceived to influence their role were identified using previously implemented instruments. Data were analysed using SPSS version 21.
Results: Responses were obtained from 122 Nurse and/or Midwife Consultants. The number of years of experience as a Nurse and/or Midwife Consultant ranged from 6 months to 25.5 years. Personal attributes which included personal motivation and own communication skills were identified as key drivers to role performance with a mean score of 7.7±0.6. Other key drivers included peer support, organisational culture, personal attributes, professional learning, Nurse and/or Midwife Consultant experience, and collaborative relationships. Of the 14 mitigating factors to the role, the most common factors were lack of resources to set up and develop the role (2.6±0.9), lack of secretarial support (2.6±1.1), lack of managerial support (2.45±1.1), and lack of understanding of the role by other health professionals (2.40±0.8).
Conclusions: Understanding the key drivers and mitigating factors that influence the role of the Nurse and/or Midwife Consultant is important for healthcare managers. Given the changing landscape of nursing and midwifery practice, organisational strategies to provide ongoing support to address the mitigating factors are urgently needed. It is pivotal that nursing management implement strategies to empower Nurse and/or Midwife Consultants to perform and reach their potential to deliver advanced nursing care.