This chapter outlined the interpretation of the seven individual interviews that was Phase One of the research. The thematic analysis of the interviews revealed content relating to the role, the attributes, skills and knowledge requirements for the role, plus the experience of being a CNL. The seven CNLs spoke to the role and the experience of being in the role. In general, they saw the role as pivotal and influential with delegation of authority to be responsible for their staff and nursing standards. This same nursing staff and their patients were important to them. This was reflected in how all of them talked about the importance of supporting their staff and advocating for them. Six of them spoke to the importance of and responsibility to their patients and how that was an enjoyable aspect of the role. There was general agreement that the role is complex, assimilating the changes to the patient profile, the delivery of health care and its systems and the environment in which they practise. The CNLs in the majority saw the ability to communicate effectively as a key attribute. This communication was important as a multidisciplinary team member, to liaise with managers and for talking with patients and family. Four CNLs talked of enabling their staff as an attribute. Attributes that were also described included being adaptable, consistent fair and respectful as well as possessing a sense of humour. One CNL raised the issue of gender, not concluding whether female might be more effective than male but describing how the two sexes may approach issues differently.
Skills and knowledge required for the role included the importance of knowing organisational systems and protocols. One CNL described the importance of conveying such knowledge to all nursing staff. The maintenance of professional relationships with other roles for example relationship with peers, managers and staff was raised. Professional support was seen as important with one CNL recommending that all CNLs should have mentors. A CNL spoke of the lack of support and professional development describing it as a frustration. This was spoken to by three others when talking of the experience of being a CNL but was referred to as lack of feedback.
Six of the seven described the tension between attending to clinical leadership and management requirements within the role. The examples given of clinical leadership were