• chronic pain management;
  • groups;
  • leadership;
  • nurses

Dysvik E. & Furnes B. (2012) Journal of Nursing Management20, 187–195 Nursing leadership in a chronic pain management group approach

Aim  To explore and debate nursing leadership and challenges on organizational and group levels when conducting rehabilitation groups for people suffering from chronic pain.

Background  Group approaches based on cognitive behavioural therapy are generally described as effective. Leadership in group approaches offered to people suffering from chronic pain is a great challenge for nurses on an organizational as well as a group level.

Methods  One overall leader and nine group leaders conducting 13 groups constituted the sample. Qualitative content analysis was used by identifying categories, subthemes and themes.

Results  The results from the content analysis revealed one main theme (‘Complexity in nursing leadership’) and three subthemes (‘Challenges in leadership on organizational level’, ‘Challenges in leadership on teamwork level’ and ‘Challenges in leadership on group level’.

Conclusions  The results show how important it is to have firm overall leadership and trained group leaders with a common purpose, interdependent roles and complementary skills, who are thus well prepared to prevent or deal with challenging group processes.

Implications for nursing management  The leaders of both levels, which are highly interrelated, should have a current theoretical understanding of pain theory, group leadership skills and a cognitive behavioural approach.