Focusing on patients: Differences between the practice of expert and non-expert nephrology nurses.

Ann Bonner

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Specialisation in nursing enables a nurse to focus, in much greater depth, on the requisite knowledge and skills for providing patients with the best possible care. Nephrology nursing is one such area where specialisation has evolved. The characteristic focus of practice emerged as an important feature during a study into the process of expertise acquisition in nephrology nursing practice. Using grounded theory methodology, this study involved 6 non-expert and 11 expert nurses and took place in one renal unit in New South Wales. Nephrology nursing practice was observed for 103 hours, and this was immediately followed by semi-structured interviews. The characteristic of focus was conceptualised as the nurses’ centre of attention or concentration while they were undertaking nursing activities. Focus ranged from inexperienced non-expert nurses concentrating predominantly on the immediate task at hand, experienced non-expert nurses who focussed on the medium term to expert nurses who viewed actions (and their possible consequences) more broadly and in the longer term. Of significance to nursing, is how nephrology nurses alter their focus of practice as they acquire and exercise their developing expertise in this specialty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalRenal Society of Australasia Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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