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Finally and importantly, supporting concerns the capability to support and maintain equilibrium through times of change and uncertainty.

Connelly et al. (2003) produced a list of 54 competencies relating to the role of charge nurse, a role equivalent to a Clinical Nurse Leader. These were then grouped into four categories: clinical/technical, critical thinking, organisational and human relations skills. Connelly et al. assert that having skills and knowledge in each of these categories is necessary to function as an effective charge nurse. The ability to act as a clinical resource, delegate workload, manage crises and change, demonstrate caring, role model and build teams is a sample of the identified competencies.

Stanley (2004), through a pilot study carried out in a paediatric unit in the United Kingdom, uncovers similar skills the Clinical Nurse Leader may possess. The results indicate that ability to cope with change, flexibility in responses to nursing staff, clinical expertise, consideration of staff and supportive behaviour are associated with this role.

In summary, research has captured the attributes of a clinical leader from the perspective of their relations and interactions with their communities as well as identifying other qualities such as clinical expertise. Not only has the role been researched to define the skills and attributes of the CNL, but attempts have also been made to establish the position the role has in the delivery of health care in various clinical settings.


Pivotal Nature of the Role

There appears to be general agreement in the literature reviewed that the role is pivotal to the organisation where it is included. Wilmot (1998) explored how it was in the United Kingdom for charge nurses to shift their role to ward manager. She concluded after interviewing and surveying 47 Charge Nurses plus others about the change to their role that the majority of charge nurses wanted the change seeing the role as key for the future. The paper acknowledged that whilst the new role allowed those in the role to influence practice, change was stressful. Doherty (2003) introduces how the UK equivalent to clinical nurse leader, that of ward sister, was considered pivotal to the review of the


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