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2.1. Introduction

This chapter introduces the literature review and its importance to the research. The search strategy employed to look at leadership in nursing and clinical leadership is discussed. How and why certain literature was accessed is explained and how the results relate to the research inquiry is outlined.

The initial literature review from 1993 to 2004 was not intended to be a saturated representation of the existing literature surrounding both subjects. Rather it was intended as the foundation to launch the action research project. The literature from 2005 to present was accessed after exiting the field in 2006 in order to obtain the recent research findings and recommendations regarding clinical nursing leadership. The earlier literature is presented in this chapter, while the latter literature is included in the concluding chapters at the end of the thesis.

The decision to access only indicative literature developed from my already described ongoing interest in the topic and subsequent beliefs about leadership in nursing and clinical leadership. Parallel to observing the effect on clinical leadership from the reforms of the 1990s and my summation of the lack of a recent role review, or support for nursing leadership in the DHB, I became aware of an interesting trend. This trend related directly to professional development of clinical leaders in nursing. I believe that the concept of leadership in nursing as well as clinical leadership has been influenced by mainstream non nursing leadership or management theories and this influence has shaped the professional development. This has also led to a limited approach in the exploration of nursing leadership as some research utilises these as theoretical frameworks to define what type of leadership may be effective in clinical leadership. These results, albeit limited and not representative of all research, when blended with the non nursing influence on leadership in general produce an interesting combination.

Nurse leaders clinical and otherwise, I have observed, are encouraged to define their leadership style based on mainstream theories. Curriculum content or professional


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