Clinical skills for nurses in medical assessment units

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To identify the skills possessed by nurses working in medical assessment units (MAUs) and those that are needed to enable them to undertake a detailed, holistic assessment of the patient.


A qualitative study was undertaken using mixed methods to obtain data. A postal survey using Delphi methodology was sent to a group of advanced nurse practitioners educated at master's degree level. Four focus groups were conducted with 38 qualified nurses working in a MAU.


The first round of the Delphi survey identified 27 skills deemed pertinent to nurses working in this setting. A second round resulted in 11 skills and a further five skills for the most senior nurses were identified by the postal survey participants. Focus groups also identified skills that nurses working in MAUs should possess. There was widespread agreement between participants that the degree of expertise pertaining to each skill would be dependent on their experience in the clinical area and would reflect their seniority.


There is broad agreement between a body of expert opinion and staff working in a MAU that there are core skills nurses working in MAUs should possess. The author plans to use the results of the study to develop future training in the MAU.

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