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International scoping exercise into expertise in children's orthopaedic nursing and educational pathways

25 April 2019
13 min read
Volume 28 · Issue 8


Maintaining competence and keeping skills and knowledge in children's orthopaedic nursing alive are problematic in both the UK and Australia. The dearth of dedicated postgraduate courses for this specialty has resulted in an array of unregulated in-house training, nurses' individual educational needs not being met and potential for children with an orthopaedic problem being put at risk of not receiving optimal care. This paper reports on a travel scholarship used to compare and contrast the UK with Australia, which supported an international scoping exercise to identify nurses' beliefs regarding expertise in children's orthopaedic nursing and explore provision for maintaining pertinent knowledge and skills. Potential ways to improve support for nurses in maintaining expertise in this field of practice are discussed.

Nurses working in the domain of children's orthopaedic nursing (CON) find maintaining competence and keeping skills and knowledge updated challenging (Judd, 2010). With the dearth of specifically focused CON courses in the UK, nurses' individual educational needs are not being met and children with an orthopaedic problem are at risk of not receiving optimal care.

The problem is unlikely to be unique to the UK. This article reports on a travel scholarship used to support an international scoping exercise that sought to: identify what nurses consider to be the expertise of CON; explore how they maintain and update their knowledge and skills; and review the current status of postgraduate CON education, comparing and contrasting the UK with Australia.

CON is in danger of being assimilated within generic surgical and medical nursing, with little recognition that certain skills and knowledge remain unique and are essential to providing the best care.

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