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1.1       Background to the Study

Nurses all over the world are important members of the healthcare team. They occupy the   positions of team coordinators in most health settings .To practice effectively as coordinators and members of the health care team; their job performance needs to be enhanced. One of the means of enhancing their job performance is through the acquisition of higher education via training and retraining. Hence it is essential for one to study the effects of higher education on the job performance of nurses; Higher education for nurses simply means an educational qualification above the basic Nursing Certificate (RN).That is it could be a Higher National Diploma (HND), a Bachelor Degree (B.NSC or BSC), a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD), a Master’s Degree (MSC), a Doctorate Degree (PHD), and any other post-basic nursing training such as ophthalmic nursing, accident and emergency nursing e.t.c.

The effects of higher education studies can either be positive or negative on the nurses, the nursing profession, and the healthcare sector of the economy, depending on whether it is functional or non-functional. If these effects are positive, the health sector of the economy would be robust. This would be to the benefit of the public. On the other hand if the effects are negative, the health sector would be rendered weak. This is to the detriment of the people who are the end users of the services provided from the afore-mentioned sector of the economy. This is because as the nurse acquires a higher education, other members of the health team can learn from the nurse and vice-versa. It has also been observed that lack of a Higher Education retards the intellectual development of the nurse. Also the spirit of carrying out further or continuous research by the nurse is depressed. As the spirit of carrying out research is inhibited, the nurse finds it difficult to propose theories or principles in the academic and clinical domain.

 Higher Education allows nurses to ascend to certain top positions in the civil service or academia. Such position includes Directors, Permanent Secretaries, Deans of Faculties and Vice Chancellors. This places the nurses in a position whereby they can influence the policies of the Government in a manner that is favourable to their profession. The pride of the nurse is grossly enhanced by the acquisition of a Higher Educational qualification.

 The modern era has seen the development of nursing degrees and nursing has numerous journals to broaden the knowledge base of the profession, nurses are often in key management roles within the health services and hold research positions at the universities. The aim of the nursing community worldwide is for its professionals to ensure quality care for all, while maintaining their credentials, code of ethics, standard, competences and continuing education. There are a number of educational paths to becoming a professional which may vary greatly worldwide, but all involve extensive study of nursing theory and practice and training in clinical skills (Judd, 2009).Nurses care for individuals who are healthy and ill, of all ages and cultural background, and who have physical, emotional, psychological, intellectually, social and   spiritual needs. Over the last forty years, researchers have studied the association between nursing education levels and the quality of the care provided (Ridley, 2008).

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing encourages employers to foster practice environments that embrace lifelong learning and offer incentives for registered nurses (RN) seeking to advance their education to the baccalaureate and higher degree levels. It also encourages Bachelor of Nursing graduates to seek out employers who value their level of education and distinct competences. There are three routes to becoming a registered nurse (i.e. in the United States of America),a three- year diploma program typically administered in the hospital ,a-three  year associate degree usually offered at the community colleges; and the four- year baccalaureate degree offered at senior colleges and universities. Graduates of all three programs sit for the same licensing examination. Baccalaureate nursing program encompasses all the courses work taught in associate degree and diploma program plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management and humanities. The additional course work enhance the student’s professional development, prepares the new nurse with a better understanding of the cultural, political economical and social issues that affect patients and influence healthcare delivery.

 According to a study published by Dr. Betty Ranbur and her colleagues in the July/August, 2003 issue of Nursing Outlook outlined that increasing the proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the registered nursing population maybe essential to stabilizing the nursing workforce. Nurses prepared at the Bachelor of Science Nursing level were found to have higher level of satisfaction. Research shows that registered nurses prepared at the associate degree and diploma levels develop stronger professional levels skills after completing a baccalaureate program. In a study of registered nurses to baccalaureate graduates from 1995 to 1998(Philips et al, 2002) stated that these students demonstrated higher competence in nursing practice, communication, leadership, professional integration and research evaluation.

This study is aimed at highlighting the effects of Higher Education on the job performance of    nurses in Kaduna State. It is also aimed at assessing whether these effects are positive or negative. If the effects are positive this study intends to advocate for their sustainance so as to enhance the advancement of the nursing profession in all aspects of endeavour. These aspects include the Clinical, Education and Research activities in nursing. On the other hand if the effects are negative the study intends to canvass for their modification to benefit the nursing profession.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

It is an established fact that Higher Education has an effect on the job performance of the nurse. These effects can either be positive or negative on the nurse, nursing profession and the health sector of the economy at large .This is because Higher Education has the potentials of improving the productivity of the nurse, since the nurse is in a position to render better nursing care, carry out better research and provide better educational instruction to student nurses. Also the acquisition of Higher Education by the nurse maybe the source of intra-professional rivalry between the concerned nurse and other   fellow nurses on one hand; and inter-professional rivalry with other health personnel on the other hand. This does not augur well with the nurse, the nursing profession and the health sector as a whole; because it may lead to industrial disharmony in the healthcare setting. This leaves the general public at the receiving end. A study of the effects of Higher Education on job performance of nurses will assist in determining whether these effects are beneficial or detrimental to the health sector. Hence from the above statement, the following questions are raised.

a)                  What are the effects of Higher Education on the job performance of nurses in Kaduna State?

b)                  Are these effects beneficial or detrimental to the nurses in Kaduna State?

c)                  If these effects are beneficial to the nurses in Kaduna State, how can they b enhanced?

d)                 If these effects are detrimental to the nurses in Kaduna State, how can they be modified or mitigated.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The general objective is to evaluate the effect of higher education studies on the job performance of nurses in Kaduna State. The specific objectives are to:-

i)                    Identify the effects of Higher Education on the job performance of nurses in Kaduna State.

ii)                  Determine whether these effects are beneficial or not to the nurses in Kaduna State.

iii)                Determine how to sustain the beneficial effects.

iv)                Proffer ways of modifying or mitigating those effect that are detrimental to the nurses in Kaduna State.              

1.4       Significance of the Study

The study is significant because it is intended to improve the productivity of    nurses and to    use the findings of the study to motivate nurses to acquire Higher Education at all levels. Also the study will serve as a medium for drawing the attention of the Government on the need to support Higher Education. This study provided the valuable benchmark information to the partially existing knowledge about the effects of higher education studies on the job performance of a nurse in Kaduna State. The outcome of this research work would be of tremendous benefit to the policy makers and would help future researchers in the field since the study made contributions on the subject matter upon which further research work can be done in the future. It would also be a base for statistical inference to other studies on analysis of the effect of higher education on the job performance of nurses in Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria in general. 

1.5       Scope of Study

The study was limited to those nurses working or practicing in Kaduna State. It was limited to the effects of Higher Education on the job performance of nurses.

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