Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/1226
Strengths in the leadership role : a phenomenological study of self-reported strengths by successful charge nurses on inpatient units
This study has been carried out as an M.Sc. project at the Royal College of Nursing
Institute in London, in connection with the University of Akureyri, Iceland. The
programme is validated by Manchester University.
The primary aim of the study is to analyse the qualities perceived as strengths by
charge nurses at the University Hospital in Iceland, more particularly their selfreported
strengths in their role as leaders, and to explore their own perception of how
these elements reinforce their positive influence upon their working environment and
the service provided.
This choice of subject may be attributed to my own long-standing interest in
examining the influence of the charge nurse on the working environment of a hospital,
on wards which are generally perceived as working effectively and offering job
satisfaction, which tends to lead to stability of staffing. Another factor in my choice
was the fact that at the University Hospital great emphasis is at present being placed
upon review and development of the charge nurse’s role. Hence I hope that the
findings of this study will contribute to that process.
The methodology applied in the study is phenomenology, or more precisely “The
Vancouver School of Doing Phenomenology. Phenomenology is based upon
examination of the co-researchers’ own experience of a certain phenomenon, and of
their own interpretation of the experience. The study was carried out through
extensive dialogues with the co-researchers, who recounted their own experience. The
dialogues were then analysed according to the methodology of the Vancouver School.
Twelve women participated in the study; all are in the position of charge nurse, and
have been generally regarded as performing well in their jobs. All have been charge
nurses for more than three years.
During the processing of the findings, it was soon very noticeable that the views of
the co-researchers were highly consistent; they described many qualities which they
saw as strengths. Four main themes emerged from the findings:
• Strengths of personality, which entail e.g. insight into one’s own strengths and
the active application of these to the leadership role.
• Communication skills, which entails e.g. the ability to understand signals and
send effective messages, along with special capacity for active listening.
• Separation of the private and professional self, which appears e.g. in a strong
sense of loyalty to the organisation, the job and the profession.
• Various elements relating to the work environment, which entail e.g. special
ability in the making of innovations and changes, and particular skill in
motivating individuals and groups to work with the leader for this purpose.
Each main theme is broken down into four sub-themes, which are discussed in detail
in this dissertation.The findings of the study provide insight into the qualities of a
good leader, and it is to be hoped that these findings will prove useful in the nursing
profession, and also in other professions in different fields, both within the health
service and outside.
Verkefnið er opið nemendum og starfsfólki Háskólans á Akureyri