Background: Quality assurance has become absolutely crucial in nurse education to ensure its quality for the delivery of safe and high quality nursing care. The need further propelled by market forces which demand competent nurses for dynamic complex health care delivery systems, policies, regulations and professionalisms. However, until now, there is a little evidence to support the existence of a comprehensive, agreed by all stakeholders and regularly applied quality assurance (QA) system to ensure quality of basic nurse education (BNE) in Pakistan.
Aim: This paper describes the experience and beliefs of a group of nurse leaders in relation to the quality and quality assurance in the BNE and their desire to establish an appropriate system to ensure quality of nurse education.
Method: The data drawn from a qualitative case study conducted in 2004. Among a sample of 71 nurses from various level of nursing, a group of eleven nurse- leaders from all over the country were interviewed on one-to-one basis. A semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire concerning concepts of quality of education, on-going QA system, its effectiveness along with suggestions for improvement was used. Hermeneutic approach to do thematic analysis of verbatim transcripts of interviews was applied.
Findings: First time this study initiated discussion and studied the experiences and beliefs of nurse leaders on quality and quality assurance in the BNE. The findings reveal a unanimous desire of the nurse leaders to gauge quality of nurse education through efficient and effective quality assurance system.
Conclusion: The findings provide initial insights into the existence situation and discern the need for an appropriate system in place to ensure quality of education. A continuous quality improvement (CQI) framework based on Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle or certain aspects of it can be used to determine `what to establish` and `how to implement` a desired QA system.