The increasing importance of rehabilitation in the health sector and the nurses' critical role therein make it essential that nurses have the right skills and knowledge to work effectively in rehabilitation settings. Drawing from a wider qualitative investigation of the role of the nurse within the multi-professional rehabilitation team, gaps in the skills and knowledge of qualified nurses working in rehabilitation settings are presented and ways to address them are proposed. Both pre- and post-registration education were found wanting. Only one third of nurses thought, in retrospect, that their pre-registration education had provided them with adequate skills and knowledge for their role in rehabilitation. A need for greater focus on rehabilitation per se and associated clinical skills was identified. Whilst post-registration education was highly valued, substantial difficulties accessing relevant courses were noted. In-service training and ad hoc learning 'from experience' and colleagues formed additional ways to develop hands-on skills. Benefits of better education included enhancing confidence, promoting inter-professional equality and improving client care. Potential ways to address some of these concerns included: adoption of a 'thread and module' approach and dedicated rehabilitation student placements, a nationally recognized multi-professional post-registration course, and an integration of work based learning with formal educational provision.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by the ENB, whose support is gratefully acknowledged. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not the ENB. The authors acknowledge the advice and comments from members of the Project's Steering Group. We would like to thank all the practitioners, clients and carers who took part in the research on which this article is based.
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