Background. Policy decisions to advance the role of Chief Nurse in member countries of the World Health Organization European Region will necessitate the systematic selection and recruitment of suitable postholders who can develop the role and status of nursing within a wide range of political frameworks and structures. Such posts are clearly of great importance for providing appropriate care through strategic and policy decisions, both nationally and internationally. The appointment and development of suitable personnel are, therefore, essential elements in the success of these roles. To date, no information exists about the qualities and attributes required for effective delivery of the Chief Nurse role.
Aim. To identify the characteristics considered to be most relevant in a Chief Nurse, in order to inform and systematize recruitment.
Method. A Delphi study was undertaken of 22 European member states. Consensus was reached by the second round, in which 12 countries participated.
Results. Sixteen relevant qualities were identified and listed in order of importance.
Of the eight countries for which statistical analysis was possible, seven demonstrated a significant level of accord [Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), Iceland, Sweden, Hungary and Switzerland], with only Finland showing no intra-country agreement.
Conclusions. To the extent that there is a high level of inter and intra-country consensus on the desirable qualities of Chief Nurses, these could be used to inform the future systematic selection and operational development of this role in European member states.