New Masters of Nursing a sign of the times

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23 Aug 2016

An increased focus on health education combined with an aging population means that nurses need more skills than ever to perform roles that are essential across the health sector.

Ara Institute of Canterbury's rigorous Bachelor of Nursing is well regarded for training graduates who understand and implement best practice across nursing. In conjunction with EIT and CDHB, the institute is now offering a Master of Nursing to reflect the more specialised expertise that nurses need.

"A lot of nurses realise they need further training for their careers. It informs their practice and allows them to work at a more advanced level," programme leader Kaye Milligan says.  


"As the population ages, nurses are helping to manage more complicated cases. Particularly in the hospital environment, patients often have more than one health condition as they get older.

"Then in primary health we know a lot more about wellbeing. Nurses will manage a range of conditions and there is more focus on education and health promotion, especially in the community sector. A nurse may visit a patient for wound care but see an opportunity to talk to them about smoking cessation or nutrition."

The programme also ensures nurses can access and use the latest research available to inform best practice in their area of interest.

"In the programme they are exposed to a wide range of subjects and the Masters thesis is an opportunity to develop more in-depth knowledge in their field. They can go deeper and have a better impact on the patient."

The programme commenced this semester with 12 new students, who are professionals working in a  range of nursing areas such as acute care, paediatrics, community base and aged care as well as one midwifery graduate. They are both recent graduates and experienced professionals. The online flexible nature of the programmes makes part time study possible.

Students will develop advanced nursing knowledge, along with higher-level skills in critical analysis, constructive synthesis, and advanced practice and research within specialty areas. Roles which utilise this qualification include nurse consultant, nurse educator, clinical leader, clinical nurse specialist, clinical charge nurse, health services manager and case manager/co-ordinator.

The programme has been specifically designed to prepare nurses for advanced practice roles, and is approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand as a 'Masters with a clinical focus, including the content for preparation for nurse prescribing.'

The skills are also transportable to other areas of nursing because the students use theoretical concepts to support their professional practice, develop expertise in their area of practice and develop their leadership skills.