In her thesis “Design and implementation of the evaluation for nursing skills at public hospitals”, undertaken at the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Ms Laura Alonso, had previously analysed existing national and international models, concluding that no valid universal model existed. Given this, and after carrying out a field study in the geographical ambit of the Basque Country, drew up a valid and reliable model at a statistical level, applicable to public hospitals in Spain.
The tasks of nurses have increasingly acquired a more important role in hospital management, the scope of their skills having changed significantly with time. The skills evaluated by the model and analysed in the thesis were: professional judgement, personalised nursing care, responsibility and guidance in change and innovation for nurse at public hospitals.
The conclusions drawn by Dr Alonso from her thesis showed that the demographic variables of the nurses analysed (age, sex, labour relations and professional experience) do not have a determinant influence on nor do they guarantee their level of skills, revealing moreover that there is no positive relation between age and professional experience, nor between gender or labour relations, given that “both men and women can develop the same skills”.
The study also concludes that, “organisational factors correlate positively with the satisfaction of nurses”, but not thus with skills level, in such a way that variables such as communication, recognition, training, participation and motivation turn out to be key to the satisfaction of nurses. Nevertheless, security in employment is not a determining motivational factor for this group.
Ms Alonso stated, “the different human relations systems should have an internal coherence between them and enable their professionals to carry out their work with maximum skill”, although the study showed that “development does not depend exclusively on systems of human relations management”, given that there are a number of factors that directly influence the result, such as leadership in management of nursing, the management of the hospital itself and the work culture of each organisation.
According to the research, the skills system for selection, training, recognition, development and salaries “will be based on the key skills of the professionals and in the contribution of each to the health service”, unlike the model followed to date.
After undertaking her research, Ms Alonso came to the conclusion that it is necessary “to create systems for the professional development of a horizontal nature, based on different levels of skills”. In this way, more complex functions or those at a higher level will be assigned to those nurses whose ability and skills are more advanced and, on the other hand, functions with less complexity to those nurses whose abilities are more limited. Thanks to this change in the system of management, “hospitals will achieve a more optimum use of resources and more enhanced quality in the provision of services”.
Once the study was finished, the author claimed that the ENFERCOM, tool is “statistically valid and reliable and serves as an evaluation of skills of nurses in public hospitals”, although it has been made clear that other, complementary methods cannot be used. To finalise, Ms Alonso adds that the evaluation of skills is a continuous process which has to be part of the mission of management and should be part of the daily work of middle management, in order to implement enhancement strategies and to develop skills for nurses”.
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