The evaluation of the Aged Care Graduate Nurse Program

2017-03-01T00:17:38Z (GMT) by Fengler, Fernanda Laís
Introduction: Universally the aging population is increasing in numbers as people live longer. In Australia, for example, the percentage of people aged 65 years and over exceeds 11.7% with an annual percentage increase of more than 3.1% (Australian Government, 2012). For that reason since 1985 Australia has been developing a new Aged Care Reform Strategy to assist in the management of this increasing aged population (Australian Government, 2012). Monash University, in collaboration with a leading Aged Care industry body, developed and delivered the first Aged Care Graduate Nurse Program (ACGNP) in 2012. The purpose of this program was to prepare newly graduated Registered Nurses (RNs) to work with older adults. Aim: This honours thesis provided part of the overall evaluation of the ACGNP. Using the overarching Clarificative Evaluation framework the aim of this honours project was to investigate and analyse the qualitative data from the graduate participants who undertook the 2013 program which then informed the overall program evaluation. Methods: Firstly, a broad summative literature review was undertaken to identify relevant literature on the key areas of the overall evaluation. Secondly, qualitative data collected from the 2013 were used to investigate the graduates’ understanding and experience of their participation in the Graduate Nursing Program. Thematic analysis was the method used to analyse the qualitative data Results: In total, there were 27 participants (5 males and 22 females) spread across three focus groups (Focus Group 07, 08 and 09) at the end of the program, 2013. Five core themes emerged: 1. Entry into the program; 2. Learning; 3. Workplace Supervision; 4. Updating workplace clinical practices; 5. Positive course outcomes. The first two themes relate to the educational program at the University, and the last three themes relate to the workplace. Discussion: It was considered an easy process to enter into the program. The course was considered to have had a good structure and some issues of participants’ interest were included. However, some of the participants identified that resources were sometimes inadequate. As the graduates progressed through the program they wanted to be seen as competent professionals within their workplace, and it was identified that the workplace was not always conducive to developing this competence. However, overall the graduates felt the program achieved it’s overall purpose and there was a significant increase in knowledge, skills and confidence. Conclusion: According to the research aim this thesis using the overarching Clarificative Evaluation framework contributed significantly to the overall evaluation of the Aged Care Graduate Nursing Program.