Hauxwell, Jonathan (2002) A national vocational qualification in the operating theatre: participants' perspectives on its effects on staff relationships. Journal of vocational education and training, 54 (4). pp. 477-496. ISSN 1363-6820

A qualitative study was undertaken in two hospitals, into the impact of implementing a level 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Operating Department Practice. Data was gathered on participants' perspectives on teaching, learning, and safe practice as well as working relationships. This latter aspect produced some unexpected results. To introduce this little explored area of healthcare, the educational and cultural contexts in operating theatres are described. (This includes a description of the award that the NVQ replaced, with which comparisons are made throughout this article). As a precursor to the research, a range of literature was reviewed, including studies of the historical development of NVQs, debates about meaning, and discussion of other impact studies. The relevant portion of that review is discussed here. The methodology is characterised by a case study approach, data being gathered by 40 structured interviews (of which, 36 were useable) that were taped and transcribed. ) The majority of those interviewed said that the NVQ had had a positive effect on the working relationship between the two main staff groups, with some re-motivation of longer-serving staff members reported. There was strong evidence that aspects of the implementation of the NVQ had contributed to the overcoming of traditional barriers between two staff groups. By researching Operating Department Practice, a new area, this study makes a contribution to the literature on NVQs. It also expands the research about the impact of NVQ implementation on the way people work together in operating theatres.

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