The Research, Development and Statistics Directorate RDS is part of the Home Office. The Home Office's purpose is to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced and the protection and security of the public are maintained. RDS is also part of National Statistics (NS). One of the aims of NS is to inform Parliament and the citizen about the state of the nation and provide a window on the work and performance of government, allowing the impact of government policies and actions to be assessed. Therefore-Research Development and Statistics Directorate exists to improve policy making, decision taking and practice in support of the Home Office purpose and aims, to provide the public and Parliament with information necessary for informed debate and to publish information for future use.
Longitudinal panel studies have several distinct methodological and analytical advantages over cross-sectional studies for gaining an understanding of nurses' careers and developing strategies to facilitate retention. Panel studies do, however, present the researcher with a number of substantial challenges if maximum potential is to be achieved from the investment of time and resources that such studies entail. Respondent attrition at successive phases of data collection, for example, is a major problem, often with the consequence that respondents are not representative of the study group as a whole. This paper discusses reasons for choosing a longitudinal panel design for a programme of research into careers of midwives and nurses. The way in which the problem of respondent attrition has been approached in one of the projects in the programme, that focusing on the careers of registered general nurses, is then described.
Foster placements are more likely to break down where the foster carers already have birth children. Studies that explore the impact of fostering on foster carers and their birth children have suggested that relational changes occur, but these changes have not been examined in depth. This study aimed to explore the impact of fostering on parent-child relationships within foster families. Nine foster carers (including three couples) were interviewed separately, and the data were analysed using constructivist grounded theory methods. Analysis indicated that birth children may attribute particular importance to their position in the family (e.g. oldest child, youngest child) and that this is a key element of the way in which they relate to their parents. Emotional security and parent-child relationships can therefore be strained by a foster placement not taking this into account. Foster children also introduce significant competition for parental resources, putting a strain on relationships. Foster carers seem to prioritise, consciously or not, the preservation of relationships within the biological family. Reflecting on relationships and making changes to maximise potential improvements in relationships can lead to positive outcomes, and this can have an impact on whether families continue fostering or not.
Much interest currently focuses on differences in the career intentions and career pathways of men and women nurses. This study seeks to add to existing knowledge on this subject with findings from a survey of newly qualified registered general nurses. Questionnaires were sent to a cohort of 1164 nurses, 87% of whom responded. Data from the 936 women and 79 men were compared in relation to educational and employment background, routes into nursing and career intentions at qualification. Procedures for modelling of categorical data were applied to these data within the constraints of the study design. Findings showed that men were less likely than women to have entered nursing as a first choice and less likely to intend working in the community after qualification. Men were more likely than women to plan to move out of clinical practice and more likely to plan pursuing a postgraduate qualification. Other differences between men and women were suggested, but limitations of the study design mean that drawing of conclusions had to be more tentative. Consequently, further research on this subject is warranted.
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