Roles and functions of Enrolled Nurses in Australia: Perspectives of Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses.
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AIMS: The aims of the study were: To determine, from the perspectives of Enrolled Nurses (ENs) and Registered Nurses (RNs), the current scope of EN practice and To identify the activities that most ENs frequently performed in their workplace. BACKGROUND: Enrolled Nurse scope of practice in Australia has evolved and expanded over the past decade. However, the unclear role, function and competency differentiation between EN and RN leads to role confusion and ongoing professional debate. METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey of ENs and RNs across Australia was conducted examining their levels of agreement on statements related to the scope of practice and the clinical and nonclinical activities that ENs were required to perform in their workplace. RESULTS: Valid responses were received from 892 ENs and 1198 RNs. ENs mostly agreed that they understood their scope of practice; did not undertake roles for which they were unprepared; sometimes undertook activities other than direct patient care and believed that they operated equally to many Registered Nurses (RNs). The majority of ENs reported that they performed tasks mostly related to basic patient care in their workplace. There were a number of significant differences between perspectives of RNs and ENs CONCLUSIONS: Clarifying the roles and scope of practice between the RN and the EN is important and explicit differences in responsibility and accountability between their roles must be clearly articulated in order to harmonise perceptions about role and capability. Health service providers, policy makers and education providers need to work collaboratively to ensure that facets of EN education and scope of practice in line with regulation are affirmed by all concerned. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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