Early Career Nurses’ Experiences of Engaging in a Leadership Role in Hospital Settings.

Publication date: Mar 06, 2024

Early career nurses (ECNs) can be expected to assume shift charge nurse leadership roles quickly upon entering practice. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, junior nurses may find their leadership capabilities tested further as the challenges of leadership are made increasingly complex in the context of an infectious disease outbreak. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore early career registered nurses’ (RNs) experiences of engaging in shift charge nurse roles in hospital settings. This study used an interpretive descriptive (ID) approach. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 14 RNs across Ontario, who had up to three years of experience and who had engaged in a shift charge nurse role in a hospital setting. Recruitment and data collection took place from January to May 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed following the principles of content analysis. Content analysis of the 14 participant interviews revealed four main themes: nominated and necessitated into leadership, diverse and demanding responsibilities, factors that help and hinder, and leadership as an impactful experience. Study findings provide insights into potential strategies to support ECNs in shift charge nurse roles, during the remaining course of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Greater support for nurses who engage in these roles may be achieved by promoting collaborative unit and organizational cultures, prioritizing leadership training programs, and strengthening policies to provide greater clarity regarding charge nurse role responsibilities.

Concepts Keywords
Impactful Canadian nursing
January leadership
Nurses Nurse roles
Ontario qualitative approaches


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease MESH infectious disease
pathway REACTOME Infectious disease

Original Article

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