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Huge step towards skilled endoscopy workforce

4 February 2013

Huge step towards skilled endoscopy workforce

A brand new knowledge, skills and competency framework has been developed in a bid to bring consistency to endoscopy nursing throughout the country.

Endoscopy involves using very small electronic cameras on the end of thin steerable insertion tubes that are inserted into natural offices (e.g. mouth or anus) to inspect the lining of the gut. Samples can be taken and, in some cases, delicate operative procedures such as polyp removal can be done without the need for open surgery.

Jenni Masters, Sector Implementation Director, National Endoscopy Quality Improvement Programme (NEQIP) and Dr David Theobald, Clinical Director, NEQIP spent the last two years assessing the issues facing endoscopy units throughout New Zealand, including workforce and training. Theobald and Masters soon realised that while there were some nurses working in endoscopy services who were highly competent, others lacked specific training or skills.

“There were no endoscopy-specific competencies in New Zealand and no clear career development path for nurses in this field,” said Masters, “Things were being done differently across the DHBs.”

With no official framework or professional learning paths existing to appraise endoscopy nurses, a real variance in the skills and abilities of endoscopy nurses across the country had developed.

Discussions instigated by Dr Theobald and Jenni Masters with Health Workforce New Zealand (HWFNZ) identified a need to improve national consistency in assessment, education and training for endoscopy nurses. A project to develop an endoscopy skills, knowledge and competency framework was approved. The development was led by Megan Buckley, Clinical Nurse Manager at the Medical Day Stay/Endoscopy Unit at Tauranga Hospital, with strategic input from Jenni Masters.

“We wanted as many nurses, health care assistants and technicians as possible to engage in the development of the framework,” said Megan Buckley, “And there was huge input from the sector – partly spurred no doubt by the bowel screening pilot which raised awareness about endoscopy.”

“We hope to see the level of skills of endoscopy nurses lift consistently across the country and create a pathway to advance to more senior levels in line with post graduate education,” said Masters.

The development of the framework was completed in June of last year, and is part of the NEQUP which will be rolled out to DHBs across New Zealand in 2013.


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