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Table 2 Characteristics of included studies

From: Exploring taught masters education for healthcare practitioners: a systematic review of literature

Reference Study aim Country Specialty Study design Methods Population Time of approaching participants
Barnhill et al. [49] Investigate impact on clinical practice New Zealand Nursing Quantitative: descriptive Postal survey Registered nurses (n = 27) / Senior nurses (manager & educator) (n = 23) / RR = 47.7% One year after
Baron et al. [35] Investigate effects on career development UK General Practice Quantitative: Descriptive Questionnaire with open ended questions GP graduates from 1997 to 2003 / A total of 150 questionnaires were sent out and 81 were returned (RR = 54%) / Total population is not stated Between 2 and 6 years
Bearn and Chadwick [37] Evaluate students’ experiences UK Orthodontic Qualitative Focus groups and semi-structured interviews 12 postgraduate students / First cohort of the programme Directly after
Calvert and Britten [33]
Calvert and Britten [34]
Exploring outcomes on professional and personal development UK General Practice Qualitative Free writing feedback 71 of 76 graduates from the first 9 cohorts (RR = 93%) Unclear
Chaboyer and Retsas [38] Evaluate programme outcomes Australia Nursing Mixed: concurrent Questionnaires consisted of open- and closed-ended questions 44 graduates out of 50 (88%) in 1st survey
37 graduates in second survey (77%) of the 1994 cohort Stakeholder
Directly after
Conneeley [39] Evaluate students’ experiences, perceived benefits and impact on career. UK Occupational Therapy Qualitative: Phenomenology Focus group Six students: 4 OT and 2 PT
[total programme cohort]
Directly after
Constantine and Carpenter [36] Explore practitioners’ development UK Physiotherapy Qualitative: Phenomenology Semi-structured phone interview 7 out of 35 invited alumni
Total population is not stated – graduates from other programmes have been included
Cragg and Andrusyszyn [63]
Cragg and Andrusyszyn [59]
Identify perceived changes at personal, practice, and attitudinal levels Canada Nursing Qualitative: descriptive Semi-structured Face-to-face or telephone interviews 22 graduates who completed programs from 2000 to 2003
Total population: not stated
Directly after
Drennan [54] Evaluate career and academic development Ireland Nursing Quantitative: descriptive Cross-sectional postal survey 220 out of 322 approached graduated between 2000 and 2005
(RR = 68%)
between 2 and 6 years
Drennan [48] Measure critical thinking ability Ireland Nursing Quantitative: cross sectional analytic Watson–Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal tool administered to two groups Two cohorts:
83 of 110 students (75%) commencing MSc in Nursing programmes.
& 140 of 222 students (63%) who had a MSc degree in Nursing between 2003 and 2007
Drennan [56] Evaluate graduates’ ability to change practice Ireland Nursing Quantitative: cross-sectional survey Retrospective pre-test design 140 of 222 students (63%) who had a MSc degree in Nursing Directly after
Gerstel et al. [63] Evaluate graduates’ competencies and career development International Public Health Quantitative: Online survey 177 of 327 invited alumni
(RR = 54%)
between 2 and 6 years
Green et al. [6] Identify the influence on career development UK Physiotherapy Quantitative: descriptive
Qualitative: descriptive
Postal survey & Focus group Graduates from the MSc MSK PT programmes from 1994 to 2005
48 of 77 (RR = 62.3%)
Perry et al. [41] Explore impact on professional and personal development UK Physiotherapy Qualitative: atheoretical pragmatic utilised within an interpretivist paradigm Focus group Seven graduates out of 11 agreed to take part. Pooled form respondent of Green et al. (2008) Unclear
Le et al. [62] Explore the relevance and impact on work Vietnam Public Health Quantitative: descriptive
Qualitative: descriptive
Postal survey Interviews 148 graduates out of the total of 187
(RR = 79.1%)
LeCount [51] Describe programme, inception, implementation, and outcomes. USA Nursing Geriatrics Quantitative: descriptive Postal survey 16 of 20 contacted (RR = 80%) / Total population: 30 graduates Directly after
Murray et al. [61] Analyse graduates’ satisfaction and explore the perceived impact. USA Interdisciplinary Quantitative: descriptive Postal questionnaire 53 of 85 graduates contacted / (RR = 62%)
Total population: 96 graduates between 1982 and 1998 / 29 of 37 contacted employers (RR = 78%)
Nicolson et al. [42] Identify educational and working experiences UK Nursing Mixed Methods: Sequential Focus group that informed the Postal questionnaire & Semi-structured telephone interviews Five cohorts of graduates
Programme team nursing and medical staff at one NICU 37 questionnaires (RR = 71.2%)
Pelletier et al. [55] Investigate effects on practice and career Australia Nursing Quantitative: descriptive Postal questionnaire 40 of 55 from 1991 cohort. RR = 72%
Total population: not clear
Directly after
Pelletier et al. [52] Investigate the impact on patient care Australia Nursing Quantitative: descriptive Postal questionnaire 236 from Pelletier et al., (1998) / retention rate of 58% / Five cohorts Between 2 and 6 years
Pelletier et al. [66] Report motivators and barriers to career change Australia Nursing Quantitative: Longitudinal descriptive and co-relational Postal questionnaire 151 of 236 in Pelletier et al., (2003) Between 7 and 10 years
Petty et al. [40]
Petty et al. [58]
Describe impact clinical practice
Develop an explanatory theory of the learning transition
UK Physiotherapy Qualitative: grounded theory. Theory-seeking case study Semi-structured interviews 11 alumni agreed of 35 purposefully selected Between 2 and 6 years
Spence [45]
Spence [46]
Evaluate the clinical impact New Zealand Nursing Qualitative: descriptive Loose-structured interviews 12 graduates of a clinically focused programme.
8 co-worker and/or employer
Spencer [43] Examine impact on professional practice UK Nursing midwives and health visitors Qualitative: Phenomenology Semi-structured interviews 12 qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors since its inception in 1998 Unclear
Stark [60] Investigate differences in role choices, role flexibility, and practice settings USA Nursing Quantitative: cross-sectional, comparative study Postal survey: self-report Role Choices, Role Flexibility, and Practice Settings Survey 406 of 1086 potential (RR = 37.4%)
Final completed questionnaires: 285
Power analysis: 165 required
Stathopoulos and Harrison [44] Explore impact on professional practice UK Physiotherapy Qualitative: Phenomenology Focus group 5 of 7 graduates agreed to participate.
Working in clinical setting
Between 2 and 6 years
Tsimtsiou et al. [50] Assess benefits on professional and career development UK General Practice Mixed Postal questionnaire that include free writing Graduates from 1997 until 2008
50 of 66 (RR = 76%)
Whyte et al. [47] Evaluate the professional relevance and the personal and career growth UK Nursing Quantitative: descriptive A self-administered questionnaire Graduates from 1991 to 1994
109 of 190 posted questionnaire (RR = 57%)
Wildman et al. [53] Evaluate the effect on clinical practice. UK Nursing Mixed Postal questionnaire The first seven cohorts of the programme (n:169)
(RR = 66.8% (113))
Zahran [65] Explore motivational factors and explore perceived impact on practice Jordan Nursing Qualitative: Ethnography Semi-structured interviews 44 M-Level qualified nurses
nurse educationalists
clinical nurse supervisors
Zwanikken et al. [57] Examine the influence on performance at the workplace, and professional contribution to society International Public Health Quantitative: descriptive Self-administered questionnaire n = 445 RR = 37.5% Unclear
  1. RR Response Rate, GP General Practitioner, OT Occupational Therapist, PT Physiotherapist or Physical Therapy, NICU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit