The important attributes of a nurse from the perspective of qualified and student nurses


Mr P L March Senior Chnical Psychologist, Willesden Centre for Psychological Treatment, Willesden Hospital, Harlesden Lane London NW10 3RY England


The studies described here set out to discover what student and qualified nurses understand to be the important attributes of a nurse The first study was exploratory and used a repertory grid technique to ask 72 students, qualified nurses and nurse lecturers to compare themselves (as a nurse) with a number of other nurses and carers of their own choosing The constructs that the participants used to make these comparisons were then categorized into attributes Those attributes that had been used by more than 10% of any of the subgroups were used in the second study as the basis of a questionnaire in which nurses were asked to put these categories in order of importance The questionnaire was completed by 565 qualified and student nurses The responses showed a remarkable level of agreement between nurses, irrespective of rank or student status The only attribute over which there were large differences was intelligence The study provides strong evidence that the view of the important attributes of a nurse remain unchanged right across the nursing profession, and the discovery of these attributes has important implications for nurse selection and training