Nurses wanted: what DO you do to earn your pay?

1 October 2014

Nurses nationwide are invited to take part in a major online survey hoping to pinpoint the real differences between a staff nurse and a specialist nurse’s daily work.


Jenny CarryerThe New Zealand Nursing Practice Survey was launched online in early October by Massey University researchers Professor Jenny Carryer and Dr Jill Wilkinson and is funded by the Chief Nurses Office of the Ministry of Health.

Carryer says the research survey aims to address confusion in the nursing sector – both here and overseas – about the difference between the many different nursing roles and titles and what difference that experience, qualifications and job title actually make. A particular focus is what actually is an advanced practice nursing (APN) role and the level of nursing practice it involves.

“We want to know if there is any consistency between how different jobs are titled, paid, employed, and understood (across the country),” said Carryer.

New Zealand currently has a plethora of clinical nursing job titles, including clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse consultant, clinical nurse educator, specialty clinical nurse, clinical resource nurse, clinical nurse coordinator, and associate clinical nurse manager. The only protected title is nurse practitioner.

“The New Zealand Nurses Organisation has done some very good work around trying to clarify titles, roles, and pay scales (of senior nursing roles),” said Carryer.

“What we don’t actually know is the different nature of practice between all those roles and titles.”

The research hopes to discover more by asking nurses a series of questions using a sophisticated research tool to get a better grasp of the differences in clinical and leadership responsibilities and in the clinical practice level between nursing roles across the whole spectrum of practice, from new graduates to nurse practitioners and nurse leaders.

The survey is based on the Strong Model of Advanced Practice Role Delineation (APRD) tool first developed in the United States. The model has been further developed and tested by an Australian nursing research team led by Glenn Gardner, which has just completed surveying 6,000 Australian nurses and is currently analysing the data.

Carryer said the New Zealand survey and research has been given a unanimous thumbs-up by the National Nursing Organisations group, which includes the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, the College of Nurses Aotearoa, the Nursing Council, the two nurse educator groups, the College of Mental Health Nurses, and the National Council of Māori nurses.

The anonymous online survey is inviting any nurse currently practising in a clinical environment – i.e. a public hospital, general practice, private hospital, or rest home etc. – to take part.

The survey asks nurses about their qualifications, position, role titles, and experience. This is followed by 41 questions that cover five domains of nursing practice, including direct care and professional leadership.

The survey will close in December, and the first results will be released from mid-next year.