Leadership role of Consultant Nurses working with Older People: a co-operative inquiry.J Nurs Manag. 2008 Mar; 16(2):147-58.JN
The aim of the co-operative enquiry undertaken was to explore how the leadership component of the Consultant Nurse for Older People role was reflected in day-to-day working.
Leadership is one of the four key elements of the Consultant Nurse role and is the key mechanism for achieving and embedding transformation in practice. However, within the role of the Consultant Nurse this area has not been explored in detail.
A 6-month co-operative inquiry approach was used to develop insights into leadership strategies of Consultant Nurses for Older People and involved the five authors of the paper, four Consultant Nurses in Older People nursing and the lead author who was also an experienced Consultant Nurse and practice-based researcher from a different nursing specialism.
Through the analysis of the stories shared by the co-authors/participants, two key themes emerged relating to complexity and pathway. These themes provided a major focus for the Consultant Nurses in their leadership role. The outcome of the study is a framework that describes the triggers and enabling factors that precede the use of leadership strategies at the clinical and organizational level and associated outcomes.
In defining how leadership is reflected by Consultant Nurses for Older People, a complex picture emerges that is multifaceted and multidimensional. Consultant Nurses need support to make visible the valuable contribution they make to enabling healthcare teams, organizations and work places. Consultant Nurses for Older People are key in ensuring the quality agenda within their organizations as they are well placed to provide leadership at both a strategic and clinical level, while providing influence to operational development.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT
Within the context of the literature this area is under investigated. Understanding how leadership is reflected in the role of Consultant Nurses is complex as Consultant Nurses work across traditional interfaces and between different levels within organizations. Consultant Nurses have been 'challenged' to identify the 'difference' they are making; to do this it is important to understand how leadership (as one element) is reflected in a highly complex, multidimensional role and the links between leadership and enabling, quality person-centred ways of working with Older People within rapidly changing, pressurized healthcare settings.