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Nursing research improving.

A solid platform of nursing research is now emerging from schools of nursing in the university sector, according to the health panel involved in the 2006 quality evaluation of the performance-based research fund (PBRF). Results of the evaluation were released last month.

The PBRF was established more than five years ago as part of the Tertiary Education Commission. The quality evaluation involves assessing evidence portfolios from academic staff in tertiary institutions to determine what rating the institution gets. That rating then determines the institution's research funding allocation. Around $230 million of research funding is allocated annually through the PBRF. Before the PBRF, funding was based on student numbers. The health panel for the 2006 quality evaluation included three nurses: associate professor of nursing at the University of Auckland, Margaret Horsburgh, dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Social Science at Whitireia Community Polytechnic Margaret Southwick; and associate professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Made Crowe.

In its commentary, the panel said nursing had made some progress since the first quality evaluation in 2003. For the first time an A has been allocated to nursing and the number of evidence portfolios awarded a C rating or above has increased by 128 percent. Jill Bennett, from the United States and now working at the University of Auckland, is the only A-grade nursing academic. Her research specialties are gerontology and cancer survivorship. A is for world-class research, B, good research, and C sound research. Nursing departments in universities had made excellent progress in the quality of their research over the past three years, the panel stated.

Despite these improvements, nursing remains at the bottom of the academic research table, with an average quality score of 0.5, with 7 being the highest. A total of 271 nursing academic staff are PBRF-eligible, up from 60 in the 2003 evaluation. Massey University's school of nursing, with 15.5 PBRF-eligible staff, ie full-time equivalent (FTE) weighted, received the highest quality ranking--1.9--of the 14 nursing schools which entered the assessment. It was followed by Victoria University's school, with 10.5 PBRF-eligible staff, with a quality score of 1.8, and third-ranked was the University of Auckland (21.3 PBRF-eligible staff) with a score of 1.6. The other two university-based nursing schools, Otago (5.8 PBRF-eligible staff) and Auckland University of Technology (14.8 PBRF-eligible staff) received quality scores of 1.4 and 1.1 respectively.

Nine polytechnic-based nursing schools entered the 2006 quality evaluation and three--Otago Polytechnic, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Whitireia Community Polytechnic--received quality scores of 0.2, 0.1 and 0.1 respectively.
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Title Annotation:NEWS AND EVENTS
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:441
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