An exploratory study of the adequacy of the nurse education system in Malta
The research study was concerned with the nurse education system in Malta. Underlying the study were the two contentions that (1) there are two equally important aspects to an adequate supply of nurses: the quality and the quantity of nurses and (2) nurse education plays a central role in determining both. In the light of the anticipated changes in the context within which nurses will perform in the future, the effectiveness of the current nurse education system in Malta at securing an adequate supply of nurses was questioned. Using a qualitative approach, the study sought to address this through an exploration of the student nurses' and qualified nurses' views of the current and future (a) role of the nurse, (b) demand for and supply of nurses and (c) nurse education system in Malta. Data were collected through questionnaires. Every kind of student and qualified nurse in Malta was represented in the sample but the chosen sample was nonetheless not statistically representative of the nurse population. Whilst the findings cannot be generalised, the results of the study do provide pointers to what, and how, aspects of nurse education in Malta may be developed. Among other aspects the need for (i) an expansion in the provision of post-registration education (ii) the introduction of specialist education (iii) and the re-organisation of the delivery of the teaching of the practical aspects of nursing are clearly indicated in the data. Hopefully the findings of the study will translate into a favourable impact on decisions made regarding the provision of education for nurses, so that an adequate supply of nurses will be available in Malta in the future which is a pre-requisite to optimal care delivery.