Expected roles and utilization of specialist nurses in Japan: the nurse administrators’ perspective


Mami Onishi
Department of Nursing Admini-stration
Graduate School of Medicine
The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113-0033
E-mail: m-ohnishi@umin.ac.jp


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.