HONG KONG nurses can now pursue further studies in nursing locally with the introduction of a Master of Nursing by the Centre for Professional and Continuing Education and the Department of Health Science, Hong Kong Polytechnic, and the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. 'We aim to encourage the professional development of registered nurses in order to consolidate their role as clinician, educator, researcher, manager and patient advocate,' said Dr Helen Bartlett, principal lecturer of the Department of Health Science of Hong Kong Polytechnic. The Master of Nursing - the first offered in Hong Kong - has been designed to provide advanced nursing studies to prepare candidates for positions of leadership and influence in the health care system. 'Upon completion of the course, graduates should be able to contribute to the continuing advancement of nursing practices as well as demonstrate an ability to plan, conduct and utilise research in nursing,' Dr Bartlett said. The course consists of five double-weighted subjects plus a minor thesis or project of approximately 25,000 words. 'The focus of the subject is on development of critical thinking and analysis skills in relation to national and international professional debate on health and nursing.' The course material developed by Monash University is designed for independent distance learning. However, the programme offered in Hong Kong will include a seminar series as well.