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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aspects of nurse manpower planning in British Columbia Ytterberg, Lorea Amolea


A study was undertaken to determine how the planning process for post-basic clinical specialty courses for nurses in British Columbia could be more effective. In order to answer this question, it was decided first to examine the present planning process in its complexities. In so doing, the complexities in educational planning were described. The following agencies are involved: the basic nursing education programs, the university schools of nursing, continuing education providers, (the community colleges, the University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Education, British Columbia Institute of Technology), the British Columbia Health Association, acute care hospitals, the Nursing Administrators' Association, the Registered Nurses' Association of British Columbia, the British Columbia Medical Association, the British Columbia Ministry of Health, the British Columbia Ministry of Education. In order to discover why all these agencies became involved, the nursing education issues in British Columbia are considered. The appropriateness of education and training for present day nursing functions was reviewed and the importance of clinical specialty training in a developed medical-technological situation discussed. From time to time since the Second World War the "shortage" of nursing manpower has been a matter of concern to policy makers and planners whether groups of nurses, employers, educational bodies or governments. Nurse manpower planning as it now exists is described. It is argued that manpower planning and planning for education and training of nurses can be improved only if the range of social roles and the behaviour of individual nurses in balancing these roles is taken into consideration. Understanding where nursing roles fit together with other roles of married women is of crucial importance. It would appear that individual nurses in British Columbia have been making particular demands upon employers, represented by the Directors of Nursing of hospitals, namely demands for positions with greater decision making autonomy and more life style advantages, to fit more closely with their other social roles. Judging by the present career choices of nurses, it seems most do not want to be employed in a career structure which offers vertical mobility. Horizontal mobility at the level of "bedside" nursing care seems to be more attractive. However, in order to be attracted into and kept in jobs in bedside nursing care, nurses need to be provided with better preparation than at present, through more adequate clinical skills based on a comprehensive knowledge base. Recognition of the changing activities of nurses and the implications of the changes should lead to revision of planners' views about accepted patterns in education, training and work organization. This revision of views could form the basis for: a) more rational planning of education, training and manpower deployment b) reconsideration of the importance of handling bureaucratic planning failures more effectively and c) more attention being given to the growing interest of nurses in trade union bargaining in order to express their demands more forcibly.

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