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The new clinical leadership role of senior charge nurses: a mixed methods study of their views and experience

Authors

  • Kathleen Stoddart PhD, MSc, BA, RNT, RNCT, RGN,

    Senior Teaching Fellow and Clinical Doctorate Programme Director, Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
    • Correspondence

      Kathleen Stoddart

      School of Nursing

      Midwifery and Health

      University of Stirling

      Stirling FK9 4LA

      UK

      E-mail: k.m.stoddart@stir.ac.uk

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  • Carol Bugge PhD, MSc, BN, Adv. Dip Child Dev, RGN, RSCN,

    Senior Lecturer
    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
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  • Ashley Shepherd PhD, BA (Hons), RGN,

    Senior Lecturer
    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
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  • Barbara Farquharson PhD, MSc, BSc, RGN

    Clinical Research Fellow
    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
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Abstract

Aims

To investigate the experience and views of senior charge nurses in relation to the implementation of a national clinical leadership policy.

Background

The role of the senior charge nurse in providing clinical leadership is evolving. However, recent evidence suggests that research is needed to inform the development of leadership and quality improvement and to connect them.

Methods

Data were collected using an electronic survey to all senior charge nurses in one locality and semi-structured interviews with a subsample of respondents. Fifty (54%) senior charge nurses responded to the survey and nine were interviewed.

Results

Senior charge nurses reported mainly positive perceptions of clinical leadership, clinical team performance and improvement of care delivery for patients following the leadership programme implementation. Themes related to confidence, quality improvement and team performance were generated.

Conclusions

Leading Better Care’ was reported to enhance senior charge nurse clinical leadership, with some development needed to link the details of change management with the wider strategic direction.

Implications for nursing management

Nurse managers may wish to ensure that their clinical leaders have clarity of role in order to inspire confidence. Some challenges were noted in achieving improvement in quality and it is possible that if improvement in quality is the cornerstone of patient-centred care then it needs to be placed centrally in workload considerations.

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