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Abstract

Purpose: To determine the impact of the Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing on student learning and career progression.

Participants and setting: A validated mixed methods descriptive survey was sent to participants (n=67). Findings were analysed using descriptive statistics and results were further investigated using a focus groups of 12 individuals.

Methods: Overall 96 per cent of graduates were satisfied with the program and agreed that the program had improved their delivery of patient care and enhanced their application of theoretical knowledge to clinical skills. Three themes were identified from data from the focus groups: ‘learning’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘opportunity’. Qualitative findings confirmed program satisfaction among participants who valued the learning experience.

Conclusion: The Graduate Diploma of Perioperative Nursing provides a unique opportunity for nurses in Western Australia to engage in a workplace supported program to consolidate their specialised practice. With significant cutbacks occurring in nursing education across both the private and public health care sectors, the profession should advocate for the role of work integrated learning as a strategy to support nurses’ development in a complex and changing health workplace.

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