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the research question of how can the role be further informed and the support be further improved, separate from the research approach that defines the role in relation to such theories.

The results of the review upheld my claim that mainstream leadership and management theories were being utilised for research on nursing leadership. However, the literature review revealed studies on both leadership and clinical leadership that did not utilise such external sources of knowledge. These have produced some unique results when describing how Clinical Nurse Leaders work. The literature review process demonstrated that it was worthwhile when exploring clinical leadership to do just that – seek out those in the role. This provides a pool of data to draw theory and knowledge that may be more pertinent and useful than data analysed using external knowledge. It reinforced to me that action research was the methodology of choice. Action research offered an opportunity for those in the role to define the role and therefore inform the evolution of the role and any future support of the CNL in a New Zealand setting.

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