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

Kathleen Stoddart*, Carol Bugge, Ashley Shepherd, Barbara Farquharson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • clinical
  • leadership
  • professional practice
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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