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The impact of intuition and supervisor–nurse relationships on empowerment and affective commitment by generation


  • Rod Farr-Wharton,

    1. Rod Farr-Wharton BSc MSc PhD Senior Lecturer University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia
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  • Yvonne Brunetto,

    1. Yvonne Brunetto BA PhD DipED Associate Professor School of Commerce and Management, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus, Australia
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  • Kate Shacklock

    1. Kate Shacklock BEc PhD Senior Lecturer Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, Australia
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K. Shacklock:


courtney-pratt h., fitzgerald m., ford k., marsden k. & marlow a. (2012) Quality clinical placements for undergraduate nursing students: a cross-sectional survey of undergraduates and supervising nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(6), 1391–1401.


Aim.  This article reports a generational cohort and leader-member exchange theoretical frameworks-guided study of the influence of the supervisor–subordinate relationship on three generational nurse cohorts’ use of intuition, perceptions of empowerment and affective commitment.

Background.  Within a global context of nurse shortages, knowledge about factors influencing nurse retention is urgently sought. We postulated that nurses’ use of intuition is the key to their empowerment and consequent commitment to the organization, and that impact would vary among the three large nurse generations.

Methods.  A self-report survey was used to gather data in 2008, which were then analysed using correlations, regression analysis, manova and path analysis. Data were obtained from 900 Baby Boomer and Generations X and Y nurses, randomly chosen from seven private hospitals across Australia.

Results.  The findings confirm the important impact of supervisor–nurse relationships upon all three generations’ use of intuition. The findings add new knowledge about the differing importance of using intuition for Generation X, Generation Y and Baby Boomer nurses’ perceptions of empowerment, suggesting it is more important to Baby Boomers and Generation X than to Generation Y. Further, the impact of using intuition differs significantly among the generational cohorts.

Conclusions.  The findings suggest the need for a more differentiated tailored style – sensitive to varying needs of the generations. Improving supervisor–nurse relationships is also critical, because of their impact upon nurses’ use of intuition, perceptions of empowerment and affective commitment. Poor relationships lead to increased nurse replacement costs.