Issue 9 - October 5, 2009 enews homee

Research to shine light on overseas nurses

Sarah Wren

CDU nursing lecturer and Alice Springs Hospital staff Sarah Wren

By Jason McIntosh

A major research project that could help retain overseas nurses in regional hospitals will be launched in Alice Springs later this year.

CDU nursing lecturer and Alice Springs Hospital staffer, Sarah Wren will research the experiences of foreign-trained nurses who form the backbone of the hospital, as part of her Masters studies.

Incoming nurses complete a 12-week intensive induction course and must reach NT registration requirements by achieving the Australian Nursing and Midwife Council competencies.

Pending approval from the hospital’s ethics committee, Sarah will interview a sample group of nurses about their experiences in the course and working at the hospital.

“It’s about enriching and expanding the body of knowledge of workforce preparation and stabilising the transient workforce at the hospital,” Sarah said.

She has already identified six themes from previous research in the UK and Iceland: Communications, differences in the nurses’ roles, de-skilling of overseas nurses, the status of overseas nurses, racial discrimination and pastoral support.

The long-time Alice Springs resident said overseas nurses were often overwhelmed because they had to adapt to both western and Indigenous cultures.

“The culture of nurses is changing rapidly and this research aims to give them a voice and help structure the hospital’s people and cultural resources to help them,” she said.

Pending hospital approval and funding, Sarah said she expected to begin her research later this year.

“I’ve had very encouraging feedback from the hospital and look forward to providing a quality insight into the opinions, ideas and expectations of foreign nurses who contribute so much to the nation’s hospitals,” she said.