The Supreme Council of Health in Qatar aims to improve its health care system by strengthening the capabilities of its health care workforce. A university in Qatar supports this national objective by offering a 2 year Bachelor of Nursing program to post-diploma nurses. The attributes gained through baccalaureate level study, particularly clinical reasoning skills and critical analysis are important for nurses to effectively participate in health care delivery, improve patient experiences and outcomes (Aiken et. al., 2014) and advance into leadership roles.

The primary purpose of this funded study was to explore the experience of post-diploma nurses returning to Bachelor level study in Qatar. A secondary purpose was to develop the research skills and capacity of undergraduate nursing students through a collaborative research approach under the mentorship of an experienced research team from the university nursing faculty and a research active, health care industry partner. Enhancement of attitudes and beliefs toward the value of research may occur as team members work toward the common goal of completing this research. Participating in a funded research project that is relevant to nursing education and health care institutions in Qatar will undoubtedly increase mentors and student researchers personal investment and commitment to the Qatari research culture and community.

This descriptive qualitative study used a Focus Group approach to explore the experience of post-diploma nurses returning to study for a degree in nursing. A volunteer sample of 19 post-diploma nurses participated in this study.

A brief demographic survey was completed and to stimulate the participants’ thoughts related to their own personal experience about returning to school, they completed a ‘Reflective Tool’ prior to focus group participation. Five focus groups were conducted co-facilitated by student and faculty research team members. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and data were analyzed using the Framework Approach (Gale, Heath, Cameron, Rashid, & Redwood, 2013).

A collaborative approach was embedded in analysis. Initially all members read and re-read the transcripts to become familiar with the data set. One interview was initially coded reaching line-by-line agreement of the whole research team. This produced a working analytical framework with tentative codes and descriptions. These were used by analysis teams (two students and a faculty mentor) to undertake initial coding of remaining transcripts; another researcher coded one transcript independently. Any additional codes generated with descriptions were added to the analytical framework. Emergent thematic categories were used to clarify and collapse codes. Subsequently all data was charted against emergent categories to generate understanding of the post- diploma nurses’ experience. Data amenable to descriptive quantitative analysis were derived from the demographic information and reflective tool.

Preliminary findings from this study provide understanding of the motivations and challenges of post-diploma nurses returning to study. For example the significance of support from the university and sponsoring health care institution is emerging as vital to academic performance and success. The contribution of this work is the insights it offers to nurse educators working with international post-diploma nurses returning to study and organizations seeking to manage part-time study of its employees. This project will contribute to the international knowledge about this topic by adding a unique Qatar context. Dissemination of research results to the international nursing community will help raise Qatar's international research profile.


Aiken, L.H., Sloane, D.M., Bruyneel, L., Van den Heede, K., Griffiths, P.,… Sermeus. W. (2014). Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study. The Lancet, 1362631-8, p. 1824-1830. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62631-8.

Gale, N., Heath, G., Cameron, E, Rashid, S., and Redwood, S. (2013). Using the framework method for the analysis of qualitative data in multi-disciplinary health research. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13:117. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-13-117


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error