Towards an integrated approach in the management of practice breakdown in nursing
Makhanya, Jabulile Nonhlanhla
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Introduction While investigating alleged unprofessional conduct involving nurses, SANC collects a wealth of information which is used as the basis upon which to determine the nurses’ guilt or innocence in respect of unprofessional conduct. No evidence exists that such information is ever used to determine how similar acts of unprofessional conduct could be prevented and/or be used in mitigating the impact of such acts on patient safety. Given that nurses have most interaction with patients, there is much to learn from practice breakdown involving nurses. Methods A four phase cross sectional sequential exploratory mixed method approach using a modified soft system methodology (SSM) methodology was utilised to develop a framework for the integrated management of practice breakdown. Purposive sampling was followed to select five districts in KwaZulu-Natal for inclusion in the study. In addition Operational Nursing Managers, members of the Professional Conduct Committee of the South African Nursing Council, and representatives of organised labour were purposively sampled. Qualitative data regarding causes and current practices in the management of practice breakdown in the nursing profession was gathered from key groups via focus groups, and individual phone calls. Then a survey instrument used to test the elements of the emerging theory was developed. Finally, a framework for integrated management of practice errors is suggested. Results The study found that practice breakdown was a product of both environmental factors such as fallible managerial decisions, and unintended acts committed by nurses. In addition, the types of errors and consequences of error management were identified. Finally, conditions requisite for the integrated approach in the management of practice breakdown were identified and used to develop a framework for an integrated approach in the management of practice breakdown in nursing. Conclusion Creation of a positive practice environment for nurses is requisite for an integrated approach in the management of practice breakdown.