The role requires interaction with a wide variety of people and organisational personnel including patients and their families, nurses, doctors and multidisciplinary team members like physiotherapists and managers. Three CNLs referred to ability to communicate as one of the attributes of a CNL. One CNL said
I think communication is a huge thing being able to talk with people at all different levels ... we have a lot of interactions my whole day is spent talking to people and just discussing and drawing information out.
The role also requires communication within complex critical clinical situations as one participant described.
I think there’s times when I’m abused not by staff but by patients and their relatives and I stand to those people and I stand strong and I tell them it’s unacceptable …. and again communication but a strength within that communication … I think the ability to communicate is the most valuable.
Agreement was found in the third CNL who stated “good communication [abilities/skills] find that essential”. Although being an effective communicator was deemed to be a necessary attribute, to an extent this was weaved into the other skills and knowledge requirements spoken of by some of the CNLs.
Skills and Knowledge Requirements of a Clinical Nurse Leader
Knowledge of systems and processes, relationship management and ongoing professional support were identified by some of the CNLs as necessary for the role. One CNL spoke at length about the level of support she had received and the lack of clear expectations as to how to “comport yourself as a Clinical Nurse Leader.”
System and processes
The DHB where the research was undertaken utilises many protocol and procedures that govern both clinical and non-clinical practices. The clinical areas where the CNLs are