Journal of Professional Nursing

Nurses’ understanding of the professional development recognition programme

Jenny Carryer, RN, PhD, FCNA(NZ), MNZM, Professor of Nursing, MidCentral District Health Board & Massey University, Palmerston North
Anne Russell, RN, PG Dip., PDRP Co-ordinator, MidCentral Health, Palmerston North
Claire Budge, PhD (Psychology), Research Associate

Reference:  Carryer, J., Russell, A., & Budge, C. (2007). Nurses’ understanding of the professional development recognition programme. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 23(2), 5-13.


Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRP) for nurses have developed out of the Clinical Career Pathways (CCP) of the 1990s. The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) has now required all health professionals to provide evidence that their practice meets criteria set by the individual regulatory body, which, for nursing, is the Nursing Council of New Zealand. In 2002 a tool was developed to measure knowledge and attitudes of the then CCP which was tested with 239 nurses. This paper is a report on the second application of the tool in the same hospital in New Zealand. Results show that knowledge and attitudes of the PDRP are similar to those found in the previous study. It also suggests that greater understanding of the PDRP and the implementation process increases the likelihood of a positive response to the programme.

Professional development recognition programme, competency review, knowledge and attitudes

Clinical career pathways (CCP), also called Level of Practice Programmes (LOPP), and Professional Development Programmes (PDP) emerged in the 1970s to become established in New Zealand during the 1980s. These programmes are based on the work of Patricia Benner (1984). They have been accepted by nursing in New Zealand (NZ) as a structure, which fits with a nursing philosophy and recognises that a nurse’s role encompasses clinical practice, education and research. The NZ context and Te Tiriti O Waitangi are recognised and implemented throughout the programme. A national framework and the guidelines for the current programme, Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRP), were established in 2004. Later that year a uniform PDRP recognition/payment system became part of the industrial agreement (MECA) that covered all District Health Boards (DHBs).

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