Defining the role of a forensic hospital registered nurse using the Delphi method



Publication Details

Newman, C., Patterson, K., Eason, M. & Short, B. (2016). Defining the role of a forensic hospital registered nurse using the Delphi method. Journal of Nursing Management, 24 (8), 1130-1136.


Aim A Delphi survey was undertaken to refine the position description of a registered nurse working in a forensic hospital, in New South Wales, Australia. Background Prior to commencing operation in 2008, position descriptions were developed from a review of legislation, as well as policies and procedures used by existing forensic mental health services in Australia. With an established workforce and an evolving model of care, a review of the initial registered nurse position description was required.

Method An online Delphi survey was undertaken. Eight executive (88.9%) and 12 (58.3%) senior nursing staff participated in the first survey round. A total of four survey rounds were completed. Results At the final round, there was consensus (70%) that the revised position description was either very or somewhat suitable. There were a total of nine statements, from 31 originally produced in round 1, that did not reach consensus.

Conclusions The Delphi survey enabled a process for refining the Forensic Hospital registered nurse position description.

Implications for nursing management Methods that facilitate executive and senior nursing staff consensus in the development and review of position descriptions should be considered in nursing management.

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