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Keywords:

  • analysis;
  • clarification;
  • concept;
  • creative;
  • creativity;
  • definition;
  • nursing;
  • practice;
  • review;
  • refinement

Aims.  This paper seeks to remove some of the ambiguity surrounding the conceptual meaning of creativity using techniques of concept refinement to advance the concept.

Background.  Creativity is an essential component of nursing practice that occurs daily in nurse's interactions with clients, families and other nurses. Failure to acknowledge and encourage creativity in beginning nurses may hinder future development and innovations in nursing practice and in nursing science. In order to promote the development of creativity it is first necessary to clarify and refine the concept as it applies to nursing.

Design/methods.  A comprehensive review of a variety of computer and online databases resulted in thousands of articles on creativity between the years 1966 and 1999. The final sample ( n  = 48) was obtained using both stratified random and purposive sampling techniques. A content analysis of the literature was conducted using methods identified by Morse and illustrated in the work of Hupcey et al . Having determined the concept to be partially mature, the concept was advanced using techniques of concept refinement.

Findings.  Content analysis of the literature yielded three differing definitions for creativity: revelation, birth and reincarnation. Creativity occurs in the presence of intrinsic motivation and a nurturing environment. While value is often used to identify whether a product is creative, the value of the product cannot determine whether the process has occurred. The product produced determines evidence of the process of creativity.

Limitations.  Limitations of this investigation are the use of secondary sources and the relatively small sample size ( n  = 48).

Conclusions.  Refinement of the concept of creativity indicates that it is a process that may be developed and influenced by the environment and is recognized by the product produced. Further investigation is needed to explore methods and techniques for developing creativity in nursing.