Role development of nurses supervising exercise tolerance tests.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Exercise Tolerance Testing (ETT) is widely accepted as an important diagnostic and prognostic tool and its primary purpose is to assess patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease. Previous studies have focused on concordance between doctors and other supervising personnel in regards to safety outcomes. ETTs are increasingly supervised by nurses now as a result of medical devolvement in this role. This study contributes a new perspective to international literature and focuses on understanding the process of role development for cardiac nurses who supervise ETTs. The overall aim was to gain greater understanding of how cardiac nurses have developed in the role of supervising ETTs and what their process has been. This is a mixed methods study that has utilised both qualitative descriptive techniques and descriptive quantitative data. These data were obtained by individual interviews with ETT nurses and the Clinical Director of Cardiology, and a survey of technicians who work alongside the ETT nurses at a tertiary hospital. Data were also obtained from a national survey of cardiac centres in New Zealand. Both methods were employed to give greater depth to the subject and place local findings in context with national data and international literature. Findings show there have been a number of international and local evolutionary factors contributing to the emergence of the ETT nurse’s role over time. Specific themes emerged from the interviews that describe individual process of role development. Technicians identified that the ETT service has improved as a consequence of having ‘dedicated ETT nurses’. Variability in regards to work place practices, training and assessment were found in the national survey. There is further potential for both increasing the number of nurses practicing as ETT nurses and further expansion of the role, however continued fragmentation, inconsistent service delivery and variation in national standards for practice in New Zealand may be barriers to collective and individual role development.