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Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP

Print version ISSN 0080-6234

Rev. esc. enferm. USP vol.45 no.spe São Paulo Dec. 2011 



The professional profile of UFBA nursing management graduate students


Perfil professional de egresadas del área de gerenciamiento del programa de posgraduacíon en enfermería de la UFBA



Mirian Santos PaivaI; Edméia de Almeida Cardoso CoelhoII; Enilda Rosendo do NascimentoIII; Cristina Maria Meira de MeloIV; Josicelia Dumêt FernandesV; Ninalva de Andrade SantosVI

IPh.D. Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Federal University of Bahia. Salvador, BA, Brazil.
IIPh.D. Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Nursing Graduate Program, College of Nursing, Federal University of Bahia. Salvador, BA, Brazil.
IIIPh.D. Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Federal University of Bahia. Salvador, BA, Brazil.
IVPh.D. Adjunct Professor, College of Nursing, Federal University of Bahia. Salvador, BA, Brazil.
VPh.D. Full Professor, College of Nursing, Federal University of Bahia. Salvador, BA, Brazil.
VIDoctoral student of the Nursing Graduate Program, Federal University of Bahia. Assistant Professor, Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia. Salvador, BA, Brazil.

Correspondence addressed to:




The objective of the present study was to analyze the professional profile of the nursing graduate students of Federal University of Bahia, more specifically of the nursing management area. This descriptive, exploratory study was performed using documental research. The data was collected from the graduates' curriculum on the Lattes Platform and from the graduate program documents, using a form. The study population consisted of graduates enrolled under the line of research "The Organization and Evaluation of Health Care Systems", who developed dissertations/theses addressing Nursing/Health Management. The data were stored using Microsoft Excel, and then transferred to the STATA 9.0 statistical software. Results showed that most graduates are women, originally from the State of Bahia, and had completed the course between 2000 and 2011; faculty of public institutions who continued involved in academic work after completing the course. These results point at the program as an academic environment committed to preparing researchers.

Descriptors: Education, Nursing, Graduate; Nursing administration research; Health management


Se objetivó analizar el perfil profesional de graduadas del Programa de Posgraduación en Enfermería de la Universidad Federal de Bahía en área de gerenciamiento en enfermería. Estudio descriptivo, exploratorio, desarrollado mediante investigación documental. Se utilizaron datos de los Currículos Lattes y de documentos del Programa, recogidos a través de formulario. La población se constituyó con egresadas en la Línea Investigativa "Organización y Evaluación de Sistemas de Cuidado de la Salud", que desarrollaron disertaciones/tesis relacionadas al Gerenciamiento en Enfermería/Salud. Los datos se almacenaron en software Microsoft Excel y se transfirieron al programa estadístico STATA 9,0. Los resultados indicaron que la mayoría de las egresadas son mujeres, oriundas del estado de Bahía, acabando su curso entre 2010 y 2011; docentes de instituciones públicas que continúan en la actividad académica luego de la conclusión del curso. Estos resultados determinan que el Programa es un espacio académico comprometido con la preparación de las investigadoras.

Descriptores: Educación de Postgrado en Enfermería; Investigación en administración de enfermería; Gestión en salud




The world is currently living in the information age, in which knowledge barriers are basically non-existent, at least for those in the digital era, but the demand for qualification and constant update become higher every day. On the other hand, the dynamics of the professional market and its constant transformations demand from the educational institutions, a permanent concern about their demands and they somehow lose their capacity to produce knowledge that can reflect on the complex problems of society nowadays. Whatever the worker's education is, the market demands a constant search for updates and academic titles which do not, necessarily, guarantee that the person will enter the professional world. This requires that the workers permanently work on their skills if they want to compete in the demanding professional market. In other words, it demands from the worker, a flexible specialization(1).

The speed in which knowledge is accumulated in the modern world demands new learning parameters, based on the understanding of active methodologies where the student, as a subject of his/her own learning process, wishes to learn fast in order to deal with unforeseen events and be flexible, reaching a solid education that allows them to deal with specific needs(2-3). Education that is exclusively specialized is now doomed due to the technological speed that has been requested from the professional, all sorts of skills such as being able to work as a team in a multidisciplinary process; that are capable of performing specific technical functions, as well as making highly complex decisions, as it is required of those that manage health services and practices.

In the field of systems, programs and health service management, nurses have a relevant role, although it is not economically valued by the health organizations. They are the ones who routinely manage the nursing work process as well as the multidisciplinary team, even when this is not a job in the organizations where they work.

These demands require a feedback system that allows for a systematic discussion of the educational process that goes along an education that can enhance the managing capacity of the future graduate and the nurse's professional profile in agreement with the transformations of the contemporary world. In this process, they will experience the production and innovation of knowledge, which requires the need of continuous updating of new knowledge that allows the professional to ensure his/her social integration and personal and professional development (2).

Due to these challenges, the graduate programs of higher education institutions are innovative and fundamental spaces for the production of knowledge and for the scientific and technological development of society.

Graduate studies provide an environment where it is possible to correct qualitative issues resulting from the increased growth of graduation courses in the various learning areas. Its objective is to qualify faculty for the higher education institutions, and meet the demand of the educational market, as well as try to develop scientific and technical research at the universities. Faculty would start searching for new knowledge and developing the existing knowledge (4).

Reality presents a triple challenge. First, to keep the professional education at a quality standard that is compatible with the demands of the contemporary world and with the scientific and technological innovative development in the sector, adding pedagogical progress. Second, to offer the graduates the ability to learn how to learn, to work as a team, to communicate, to be able to handle difficult situations and have the ability to meet the demands of the professional market. Third, to develop activities with interdisciplinary characteristics, capable of contributing for the solution of national problems and the education of creative, critical, enterprising and above all, citizens committed to life ethics (4-5).

In order to face these challenges, graduate courses involved in the changes of the contemporary world, should prepare the students to know how to position themselves in case of unforeseen events, to learn fast, to be flexible, and have a solid general knowledge, as well as to know how to deal with the specific needs from the every day life. Technological speed demands, therefore, that professionals are prepared to work as a team, to communicate effectively with people from other areas and that are competent to think, provide feedback and solve problems, with abilities such as making decisions and to work towards meeting the objectives and aims of an institution(2).

These challenges lead to the need to establish adequate criteria do assess the quality of teaching and the efficiency of the institution, as it happens with the monitoring of the graduates, which will subsidize the comparison between the profile of the graduate level education and their link with the professional world.

The assessment of the graduates' profile contributes for the identification of the correct and inefficient issues, the strong and weak points of the courses, making it easier to make a decision with the objective to improve the course and its results. It also contributes for the planning of the activities of the learning institution. The institution is led to think about itself and to know itself better, and try to improve its academic performance and the quality of the actions performed by the ones involved in the teaching, research, extension and management processes.

Therefore, it is important to carry out studies that allow detailed information to be obtained on the profile of the graduate students as well as in which conditions these professionals work in the professional market.

Based on these thoughts, the need emerged for an initial survey on the professional profile of the graduates from the management area of the Nursing Graduate Program at the Federal University of Bahia (PPGEENF/UFBA). This survey offers information to the institution to analyze the relationship between academic graduate education and the professional world in this professional working sector, as well as positions and / or redirects its pedagogical actions to constantly update the syllabus of their courses.

The study is justified, therefore, by the need to know who are the graduates of the line of research The Organization and Evaluation of Healthcare Systems at PPGEENF/UFBA, where and how are they working and the sectors in which they are working, to relate the educational functions proposed by the institution and the functions they are given in the professional market.



As seen above, the general objective proposed is: to analyze the professional profile of the PPGENF/UFBA graduates in the area of nursing management and the specific objectives are: 1) Classify the graduates as per demographic, educational and professional work variables and 2) describe the impact of education on the performance of teaching, management, and other activities in nursing and healthcare.

Reaching these objectives will contribute to establish future associations between the different types of teaching in nursing care management area, and determine the relevant parameters that can contribute with the improvement of the graduates' professional profile.



This descriptive and exploratory study was performed through a documental research to get to know the profile of the PPGENF/UFBA graduates in the management area, verifying the adequacy of the inclusion in the professional market with the graduate academic education.

To do this, we worked based on the certainty that the document is a valuable source for every researcher, and is irreplaceable in any reconstitution of history not only regarding a relatively distant past but to recent past too (6).

PPGENF/UFBA focuses on one single area Gender, Care and Health Management and three lines of research. Among these lines, it was decided to start the study with the graduate students of the line - The Organization and Evaluation of Healthcare Systems, initially to meet the demand of the 1st International Meeting for Graduate Studies on Nursing Management of the University of São Paulo School of Nursing, in which we shared the experience in this educational field with other nursing graduate programs that participated in the event.

The study was structured as a documental or primary source research using the data from the Curriculum Lattes of PPGENF/UFBA graduates, available in the Lattes Platform of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - CNPq(7), and by referring to the documents of the mentioned program (8).

The tool used to collect the data was a form consisting of identification data, academic education and working area. In order to validate the form before its final use in the study, a pilot test was performed using the data of two graduate students, one attending the masters course and one the doctorate course. The tool was amended after the pilot test.

The population studied consisted of 100% of all PPGENF/UFBA graduates in the line of research The Organization and Evaluation of Healthcare Systems who developed papers at the completion of the courses that were related to the management of nursing / healthcare.

The following variables were defined: a) demographic, gender and origin; b) education: year they graduated, year they started their courses and year they got their degrees; c) professional area: teaching, type of institution and job prior to the education, activities performed before and after the education.

For the purpose of data collection, the data of all PPGENF/UFBA graduates were used, since its creation in 1979. Data collection generated a database that was stored in Microsoft Excel, and was then transferred to statistics software STATA 9.0 (STATA CORP) to obtain the absolute and relative attendance and presented in tables and graphs.

This study does not represent any type of risk to the health or physical-moral integrity of the persons, did not involve any type of direct intervention over them, therefore it was not submitted to the approval of the Ethics in Research Committee involving humans.



From the first half of the 70's, the increase in the offer for vacancies and the creation of new nursing undergraduate courses in the country demanded better education of the faculty in order to prepare nurses to teach, assist and research. At that time, sensu strito graduate courses started being offered, which had been encouraged since 1968, with Law 5.540(4).

The Nursing School of the Federal University of Bahia (EEUFBA), aware of its historical role, showed, through various actions, its commitment with the development of the Northeast region as an educational unit committed with the improvement of quality of life, as stated in its institutional mission to prepare professional citizens to act in an ethical, critical, independent and creative way, capable of becoming part of the social-historical reality, prepared to meet the social demands related to the needs of health and full development of human beings, and working to become a centre of regional and national reference through teaching, research, and provision of health services.

EEUFBA started offering lato sensu courses in 1973 from the Specialization Course in Medical-Surgical Nursing as Residency, followed by the master degree in nursing created in 1979 and the doctorate course initiated in 2006 (8).

The first sensu strito Nursing Graduate course (Master) in Brazil was created in 1972 at Anna Nery Nursing School at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University, followed by the Nursing Schools of the University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto College of Nursing, and in Rio Grande do Sul, showing the differences between the regions regarding the offer for this type of course (9).

Such fact demanded the creation of a graduate course in the Northeast Region, so that it could slowly meet the regional characteristics and the development of nursing teaching in the country.

In an attempt to meet this need, the Ministry of Education, through the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel Foundation (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior - CAPES) and of the former Department of University Matters (Departamento de Assuntos Universitário - DAU), organized meetings with the objective to assist the working groups of the various nursing schools in the Northeast Region, to identify which one presented the best conditions in terms of research tradition, qualifications of the faculty and previous experiences in graduate courses to hold master degree courses. Through the analysis of each school within the federal universities, the existence of a significant potential for faculty with Master degrees and lecturers was seen, of which 53% of the total worked with EEUFBA. Teaching tradition, research and experience in the graduate sector of that school (3,10) were also considered.

With this perspective in mind and with the offer of graduate courses to meet the demands of the technological area and production sector, the first master course in the Northeast Region was created in the Nursing School of the Bahia Federal University, and their activities only started in 1979. This course had its origin linked to the specialization course that already existed in 1973, with the objective to better use the material and human resources, where the subjects that were common to both courses could be taught together. At the time, this didactic model to offer the subjects, met the political - administrative demands that somehow were a condition for the approval of the master degree course to use such teaching strategy (8).

Considering its characteristics and purpose, the course has a significant demand for students, mainly from the Northeast region, with 84% of the demand in its first year. Of all students, 13.3% came from other regions in the country and 2.7% from other countries.

PPGENF/UFBA defined as their main area, Medical-Surgical Nursing. The option for Medical-Surgical Nursing was made not only because of the demand in the health sector at the time, but also due to the experience acquired by this school in the Specialization Course as Residency in this knowledge area (8).

In 1991, PPGENF/UFBA, in an attempt to meet the requirements of the nurses in the Northeast Region, created one more area of study in Nursing - Women's and Children's Healthcare which, later on, was divided into two areas: Nursing - Women's healthcare and Nursing - Children's and Teenagers' Healthcare. In 1995, due to the demand, another area was created, called Nursing Service Management (8).

The implementation of the Nursing Service Management area in 1995 had the objective to meet one specific demand of the market that needed professionals with knowledge, abilities and attitudes that were needed to master the management functions of the nursing care. Meeting this demand was necessary, mainly due to the progressive and rapid growth of new knowledge in the area as well as due to the technological equipment used in the healthcare sector.

After 1995, PPGENF/UFBA started having four areas of study: Medical-Surgical Nursing (discontinued in 1999), Nursing - Women's Healthcare, Nursing - Children's and Teenagers' Healthcare and Nursing Service Management. A total of 20 seats were available (8).

These and other changes were made from the proposal to restructure PPGENF/UFBA, approved by CAPES. These were followed by a set of other measures, including the offer for specialization courses with the objective to technically prepare nurses to work with health services in the areas of Health of the Elderly, Children's Health, Women's Health, Hospital Administration, Intensive Care and Surgical nursing, in partnership with other health institutions. Under the Residency mode, the areas offered are Adult Health, Intensive Care and Surgical Nursing (8).

The growth of PPGENF/UFBA was a result of the consolidation and growth of nursing knowledge, showing the relevant social role nurses have in the Brazilian health system.

Over the last years, with the gradual consolidation of the Nursing lines of research, PPGENF/UFBA, in order to meet the recommendations made by CAPES, has restructured both academically and administratively and currently has only one area called Gender, Care and Health administration. This area consists of three lines of research, namely: Women, geender and health, Organization and Evaluation of Healthcare Systems and Nursing Care in the Human Development Process.

The main basis for PPGENF/UFBA is the process of taking care and managing health and nursing, focused on gender aspects. Therefore, the processes of taking care and managing health / nursing and gender issues are noticed in the relationships between individuals, families, groups and communities and are focused on meeting their general and specific needs, based on science, technology and ethics.

The program's pedagogical project has nursing as an interdisciplinary field, and deep interface with theoretical basis in the fields of health and social sciences, clearly shown in the investigation objects and methodological approaches of the researches developed in the program and research groups at EEUFBA. The process of taking care and managing health and nursing is, in theory, focused on meeting the health needs of the population and the consolidation of the Unified Health System.

In this context, PPGENF/UFBA has the mission to qualify professionals for the research, teaching and the provision of services to individuals and populations, providing knowledge of the Nursing science to other knowledge areas.

In order to reach this mission, the objectives of PGENF/UFBA are:

1. Prepare nurses who have Masters and Doctorate degrees to meet the health needs of the Brazilian society, particularly in the Northeast Region.

2. Prepare nurses for the implementation of practices that transform research and teaching, through the development of nursing studies and research.

3. Qualify the researchers to develop investigations about themes related to administration and nursing care, using the gender perspective and other analytical categories such as race, generation and social class.

The profile desired for the PPGENF/UFBA graduate is one of the professional who is capable of producing innovative knowledge using appropriate methods and with methodological criteria, showing abilities to analyze literature, systematize findings and respect the ethical principles in the research, as well as identify phenomena, implement interventions and assess the outcomes of the health and nursing actions in the context where these actions take place.

In order to reach this profile, the graduate student is encouraged to make a critical analysis of the process of taking care / managing health and nursing from a gender perspective, reinforcing his/her potential to contribute to improve the health conditions of the population, regionally and nationally.



Ninety three graduates were identified. Of this total, five were excluded from the study due to the lack of their corresponding curriculum in the database used. Therefore, the population studied consisted of 88 graduates, predominantly (89.8%) women. There is a group (86.4%) of nurses from the state of Bahia who completed the graduation course, mainly between 1980 and 1999 (72.7%). On the decade between 2000 and 2011, there was the highest number of graduations, in constant growth since the 80's. Most nurses are graduates from the master degree course (83%). This data is shown in Table 1.



Regarding the education before they obtained the master and doctorate degrees, it was noticed that 78.4% of the graduate students had completed some specialization course.

Table 2 shows that of the total number of graduates, most worked as faculty both when they joined the program and at the time of this study, according to the data collected, mainly in public institutions exclusively. It is noted that before they joined the Master Degree Course, 47.7% of the nurses already worked exclusively as faculty while only 9.1% performed management functions with no other similar activities. As for the type of job, approximately half the nurses were public workers before they started their master course. After the masters, there were changes in the functions performed and an increase in faculty careers as an exclusive activity and the percentage of management as an exclusive activity remained the same. The appearance of other activities related to retirement should be noted, as well as continuing education with the doctorate course and voluntary work. Before the master course, most of the graduate nurses worked as faculty in public or private IES, or in both. This number increases later with exclusive teaching or together with management and/or healthcare activities.



In Figure 1 lists the professional occupation of PPGENF/UFBA graduate nurses to complement Table 1, and shows the functions of teaching, management and healthcare when performed exclusively or simultaneously, before and after the course is completed.




When analyzing the data, we come across contents that allow for a discussion of the profile of the PPGENF/UFBA graduates who developed studies in the management area. The fact that most of the researched people are women is an expected result, considering the classification of the nursing category by gender in Bahia. The fact that most nurses graduated from the master course is mainly due to the difference in time during when these courses existed: master course for 32 years and the doctorate course for 6 years.

As for the fact that most of the graduates are women, this is not only a characteristic of the courses in the nursing field but also of the human and health areas, as it is the case in the education field, where the majority are men only in subjects such as physics and mathematics (11). Although it has not been yet investigated what led this group to apply for an academic master course, it is noted that the reasons must be similar to the ones mentioned by other groups, such as starting a faculty career or due to a demand of the professional market. In the nursing field, this is a relevant factor for those who look for graduate courses, due to the increase in nursing undergraduate courses and a significant increase in the market for teaching positions(11).

The fact that 52.2% of the graduate students developed specialization courses in the health/nursing management area shows some degree of coherence in their choice for the line of research and the choice of master and doctorate courses. In relation to the findings on Table 2, it can be said that the objective of the graduate courses is also to prepare faculty(11). Therefore, we can say that the program maintains the coherence with what is determined in the political guidelines about graduate teaching in our country.

The increased number of faculty after completion of the graduate course allows us to conclude that PPGEN is contributing with its purpose, mainly in relation to the education of professors, which is confirmed with the reduced number of inclusions of the graduates in healthcare activities only after course completion. Similar data were found in a study performed in Ceará, where the profile of the graduate students of a stricto sensu graduate course in nursing was analyzed(12).



The results presented herein indicate that graduates from the master and/or doctorate courses at PPGENF/UFBA are mostly women; they are originally from the State of Bahia; they have completed the course between 2000 and 2011; most of them are faculty at public institutions and continued their academic activities after the course was completed.

As a preliminary result, this type of survey does not allow us to cover other aspects of the graduates' profiles. We cannot relate these with the quality of education. However, regarding their entering the professional market, the fact that the results indicate the predominance of teaching together with the simultaneous inclusion in teaching and management showed that PPGENF/UFBA has managed to prepare faculty that meet the growth of higher education and therefore contribute to a higher quality of teaching, mainly at public institutions. There are also indications that the program helps develop the growth of scientific research via the preparation of researchers, even though the doctorate course has not existed for a long time. In addition, the course prepares nurses to face the needs of national development in the management field.

However, the fact that most students graduated between 1980-1989 shows that PPGENF/UFBA still does not meet the requirements of CAPES and CNPq in relation to the incentive to attend stricto sensu post graduation of young graduates from the scientific initiation program.

The significant increase in the number of graduates shows that the changes in the program from the inclusion of the doctorate course in 2006 as well as the option of one study area and the definition of three lines of research opening space for management, were correct decisions. Such measures reflect the national changes in higher education, mainly the valuation of the investment in graduate programs in which PPGENF/UFBA is included.

In summary, it can be said that the results presented here provide subsidies for the general analysis of PPGENF/UFBA, particularly in what relates to the relevant role it performs in the education of professors and doctors.

However, from this preliminary study, the challenge remains to search for the answers of relevant questions, such as the ones presented below(13):

• What is the quality of the master/doctorate course at PPGENF/UFBA?

• Does this education emphasize on the commitment with a theoretical production regarding Brazilian health and nursing issues?

• Does the master education help transform the pedagogical practices of the teaching graduates?

• Does PPGENF/UFBA perform the essential role of producing knowledge and educating the researcher?

• Does this education contribute for a higher inclusion of the graduates in the professional market?

• Is the education for teaching purposes a part of the research practice?

• What is the program's contribution for the research and the preparation of knowledge that contributes for the consolidation in the nursing field?

These are the challenges that we must pursue in order to understand the role of PPGENF/UFBA as well as its outcomes.



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Correspondence addressed to:
Mirian Santos Paiva
Rua Amazonas, 829 - Apto 201 - Pirituba
CEP 41830-380 - Salvador, BA, Brazil

Received: 11/07/2011
Approved: 11/11/2011

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