The president comments ...
Subject: Professional development (Training)
Nurses (Training)
Nurses (Employment)
Pub Date: 10/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Oct, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 9
Topic: Event Code: 280 Personnel administration; 530 Labor force information
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 271050273
Full Text: This month I would like to highlight an issue around professional development recognition programmes (PDRP). A lot of blood, sweat, tears and personal time go into completing a PDRP, as I am sure many of you know. Why is it, if a nurse has completed a PDRP and attained a certain level, eg proficient, that this is sometimes not acknowledged by a new employer?

I sought some nursing opinion on this and the following question was put to me: "If a nurse is working as a casual and has a PDRP level 4 (expert), are they really offering that experience to the work area?"

This tack of professional recognition by some employers certainly strengthens the argument for a national PDRP. The flip side of this debate is, does one size fit all? Or, if there were in fact healthy workplaces, would we need PDRPs? In a healthy workplace, it would be part of the working environment to regularly review performance and provide appropriate professional support to develop all employees. This type of workplace can also be described as a "learning culture" or "working in a culture of success"I Too simplistic or dream on, did I hear you say? I would encourage serious debate around this issue to assist in continuous professional development for all health professionals. Nurses need to urgently address the issues of portability and consistent interpretation or the profession risks the outcome being determined by diminishing health resources. Currently, the barriers to portability and recognition might save dollars for the employer on one hand; on the other hand, it ends up costing the employer, as devalued employees take their skills elsewhere or under-perform.

The safe staffing inquiry of 2006 noted, "Current fiscal restraints and critical service requirements put professional development, both clinical and non-clinical, at risk of being sacrificed to reduce costs. This type of short-term, cost-containment strategy has been shown to result in "a less skilled and capable (registered nurse) workforce who, in addition to performing less effectively, feel more stressed and are more likely to resign".

Fortunately, Minister of Health Tony Ryail sees healthy workplaces as a worthwhile investment by committing further funding for the safe staffing and healthy workplaces unit. This funding will allow the unit to continue to roll out care capacity demand management systems in more district health boards. Part of this process is about professional development and allocating it appropriate time and resources.


Recognition and portability of PDRPs can potentially be addressed in employment agreements, if there is not satisfactory progress towards removing some of the highlighted barriers. I would like to acknowledge the workplaces where this is not an issue and Look forward to a consistent approach to PDRPs being applied throughout New Zealand. Then nurses will be able to say they are valued, respected and working in healthy workplaces.


(1) Safe Staffing/Healthy Workplaces Committee of Inquiry. (2006) Report of the Safe Staffing/Healthy Workplaces Committee of Inquiry. Wellington: District Health Boards New Zealand, NZNO and MOH.
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