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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Thoracic surgery as a nursing specialty : perceptions of senior nurses and surgeons of specialist nursing practice Wilson, Angela Marie


With the continual advances in medical technology and specialized procedures, surgical patients have increasingly complex and specific needs. The questions that surfaces are: 1) Do surgical nurses now require advanced knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the thoracic surgery patient population? 2) And if so, do nurses and surgeons perceive value in recognizing thoracic surgery as a specialty for nurses? In this study, the perceptions of senior thoracic nurses and surgeons regarding nursing specialization were examined. Nurses’ and surgeons’ perceptions of what characterize a nursing specialty, if and why they consider thoracic surgery a nursing specialty, and what they identify as the outcomes and value of nursing specialization and related outcomes were also explored. An inductive approach was used, with data collected through a quantitative web-based questionnaire, using the 18-item Perceived Value of Certification Tool © (PVCT) as well as specific additional Likert scale and multiple-choice questions related to thoracic surgery. Study findings revealed that thoracic nurses and surgeons value nurse certification for similar intrinsic and extrinsic reasons as nurses in other specialties and in other countries, identifying several intrinsic rewards, such as “enhances feelings of personal accomplishment,” “provided a professional challenge,” and “validates specialized knowledge,” as motivators for certification. Findings from this study also suggest that nurses and surgeons perceive that additional nursing education related to knowledge and skills is required to meet the care needs of the thoracic surgery patient population, and improve the overall nursing care provided. Additionally, study results also suggested that nurses and surgeons believe that nursing specialty recognition may promote better patient outcomes. Finally, study findings demonstrated that thoracic nurses and surgeons believe that thoracic surgery should be formally recognized as a certified nursing specialty.

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