onishi m. & kanda k. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management18, 311–318
Expected roles and utilization of specialist nurses in Japan: the nurse administrators’ perspective
Aim This study explored (1) expected roles for specialist nurses in Japan and (2) nurse administrators’ experience-based management strategies for effective implementation of these roles.
Background In Japan, specialist nurses have begun to be recognized as valuable human resources. However, managerial issues in utilizing specialist nurses, including unclear roles and lack of reports on effective management strategies, remain.
Method Three focus-group discussions were conducted. Nine nurse administrators participated. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis techniques.
Results The expected roles for specialist nurses were: (1) facilitating general nurses’ learning; (2) monitoring and improving the patient care standard; and (3) developing new roles for nursing. Two management strategies were: (1) enhancing specialist nurses’ influence, and (2) enhancing specialist nurses’ motivation.
Conclusions Specialist nurses are important human resources able to assume responsibility for process improvement in nursing care. Effective ways to enhance specialist nurses’ influence and motivation include developing their management and communication skills, and coordinating their workload and relationships with other health care professionals.
Implications for Nursing Management Process improvement indicators may be useful for evaluating specialist nurses’ work. Nurse administrators can contribute to effective implementation of specialist nurses’ roles not only by clarifying their roles but also by empowering them to keep up with changing organizational needs.