Revitalizing the charge nurse role through a bespoke development programme

Jacqueline Fairbairn Platt, David Foster
Journal of Nursing Management 2008, 16 (7): 853-7

AIMS: This article describes the genesis, contents and outcomes of a bespoke Charge Nurse Development Programme which was designed to enhance the propensity of nurses to manage in an acute hospital setting.

BACKGROUND: The charge nurse role is pivotal to the provision of high-quality care and effective ward management. However, many nurses are promoted to these roles of substantial responsibility commonly with no formal management preparation, an inherent under-confidence and in some cases a tangible reluctance to manage.

EVALUATION: Evaluations from 95 charge nurses were obtained using an anonymous questionnaire.

KEY ISSUES: Qualitative analysis demonstrated the programme satisfied its original aims by having role models and experts teaching relevant subjects to a group who have consequently established their own peer network.

CONCLUSIONS: The pragmatic consequences of the programme were that charge nurses have perceived themselves to become empowered and more focussed on solutions.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: Creating a supportive but challenging programme has resulted in charge nurses behaving more reflexively by combining reflection with action. This has helped them enhance their confidence, autonomy and responsiveness to organizational, personal and professional objectives. Further work needs to be undertaken to correlate the charge nurses' perceived outcomes against audited standards of their ward performances.

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