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American Journal of Nursing Research. 2014, 2(3), 50-56
DOI: 10.12691/ajnr-2-3-4
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Nurse Education, Experience and the Hospital Context. Analysis of Nurse Expertise in a University Hospital of Catalonia (Spain)

Faura T1, , Trilla A2, Lluch T1, G Martinez1, L Canillas3 and Zabalegui A2

1University School of Nursing, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

2Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

3Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain

Pub. Date: December 01, 2014

Cite this paper:
Faura T, Trilla A, Lluch T, G Martinez, L Canillas and Zabalegui A. Nurse Education, Experience and the Hospital Context. Analysis of Nurse Expertise in a University Hospital of Catalonia (Spain). American Journal of Nursing Research. 2014; 2(3):50-56. doi: 10.12691/ajnr-2-3-4


In hospitals and other health settings expert nurses are central to ensure the efficacy and efficiency of patient care. Hospital quality and safety policies contribute in promoting and ensuring expertise among their staff to improve patient health outcomes. To allow design of these policies, research is currently needed to understand how to apply two well-established definitions of expert nurse: (i) the influence of hospital contextual factors, as well as (ii) nursing practice levels. The former were previously studied in a large nurse sample of a hospital in Pennsylvania (USA). The later were characterized in P Benner’s theory. In spite of their key importance, these two criteria are not yet standardized in nurse staffing policies. Here, the nurse expertise level following these two criteria was assessed in a University Hospital of Catalonia (Spain). To that end, we acquired primary data on the individual nurse education and experience, thereby contributing to define nurse expertise. Our findings of this cross‐sectional study from 167 registered nurses showed that the hospital indeed adheres to the two definitions of expert nurse. Further, we characterized key markers such as a statistically significant association found between a nurse reporting a more advanced expertise level and a threshold of at least five years of experience and at least one year of postgraduate studies. This result is supported in current literature. In the future, further research along these lines will hopefully aid to clarify the relationship between nurse expertise and patient health outcome.

nurse expertise magnet hospitals patient outcomes work environment

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