Education pathways, mentoring and future intentions of nurse and midwifery consultants in a NSW Health District

Denise Ann Edgar, James Brinton, Bernadette Burgess, Vanathy David, Melissa Glass, Lynda Horning


Clinical Nurse and Midwifery Consultants (CNC/CMCs) play an important role within NSW Health Services. They are required to function within five domains of practice: clinical service and consultancy, clinical leadership, research, education, and clinical services planning and management. This study engaged with one Health District’s current CNC/CMC network members with a view to informing the development of a strategy for career and succession planning. One hundred CNC/CMCs were invited to participate in an online survey and in one of three focus groups. The survey explored: the participants’ demographics, their educational pathways prior to and during the role, the relationship of this education to the five domains of CNC/CMC practice, their priorities for their own future education needs, the education priorities they suggested for other aspiring CNC/CMCs, and who was mentoring into their role. The focus group added further clarity to the survey data. The survey was completed by 61% of invitees and 19% attended the focus groups. The findings identified an experienced workforce, with 25% of CNC/CMCs intending to leave over the next five years, yet only 20% mentoring others. Nearly half (47%) of the participants held or were working towards a Master’s degree. A third of these Master’s degrees were considered by the participants to support knowledge in all five of the CNC/CMCs’ domains of practice, in comparison to only 11% of graduate certificates. The focus-group participants expressed the view that the Master’s qualification supported them to meet the domains of the CNC/CMC role, and suggested that aspiring CNC/CMCs should aim for this level of education. When considering their own personal educational needs, the CNC/CMCs prioritised service planning and management and research, but they felt that aspiring CNC/CMCs should prioritise the development of clinical knowledge, followed by clinical leadership.

Article submitted: 21/6/18

Article accepted: 10/1/19

Publish date: 15/2/19

Full Text:



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