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Credentialling of Australian critical care nurses : a dialectical study

posted on 08.02.2017, 05:56 by Haralambous, Kathryn Ann
Aims: This research project endeavoured to explore and debate the purpose of credentialling Australian critical care nurses; a process created and instituted by the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses between 1996 and 1998. This research project explored the impetus for the development of credentialling and its impact on critical care nursing theory, practice and education. Methodology: The student researcher employed a qualitative research framework utilising dialectical approaches and Critical Social Theory to explore the phenomenon of credentialling. In-depth interviews were conducted by telephone with two nurses credentialled by the Australian College of Critical Care Nursing and with two credentialling committee members of the Australian College of Critical Care Nursing. Findings: The student researcher found that credentialling critical care nurses resulted in highlighting the need for positive changes to theory, practice and education. Positive changes created by credentialling included increasing the perceived value of specialist nursing care by the gaining of rewards and incentives through personal and professional recognition, creating a clinical career path and, describing what nurses do in practice, thus confirming their role and scope of practice in writing. Positive changes were seen to contribute to increased professionalism. Negative outcomes of credentialling explored by participants included changes in workplace flexibility and the introduction of additional nursing regulation. Discussion: Discussion of the findings explored and examined many social conditions including patriarchy and empirics which support the ideology evident in the findings. The ideologies that were explored in the discussion of the findings related to altruism, professionalism and career structures. Conclusion: Credentialling of Australian critical care nurses serves many purposes, some of which are controversial. This research project has demonstrated that one of the primary purposes of any credentialling process is to enhance the process of professionalism and the gaining of professional status. The implications for critical care nursing theory practice and education are currently unknown due to the small number of critical care nurses credentialled to date.


Principal supervisor

Robyn Fairhall

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre


Campus location



Bachelor of Nursing (Hons)

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences