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what do to with the themes, questioning my intentions for this data and seeking further clarification on what action research entails. Meeting three saw the group reduce focus to two themes. This was not a rejection of the collection of themes as such but a statement that while they were all integral to the research only two were best captured as a topic for exploration in their own right. These two were the conflict that occurs between the leadership and management aspects of the Clinical Nurse Leader role and the professional development and support afforded the role. Meeting three saw the change of ownership of the group from myself to all members. Meetings four to nine are described in chapters seven and eight.


Meeting One (December 2005): Establishing the Group

The initial meeting was held in December 2005. I had reflected prior to the meeting that the seven participants were all nursing leaders in their own right and how that might impact on the participatory process of our action research group. I was, however, confident in my skills as a facilitator. It was summer and the group looked tired and hot. Their respective clinical areas were progressing strategies for Christmas inpatient bed reduction plus increased allocation of annual leave, meaning some ward closures and subsequent amalgamation of inpatient areas. Meeting one was about the establishment of us as an action research group and included introductions of all members plus agreement on the ground rules for future meetings. This first meeting was conducted, on request from the group, without the use of a tape recorder.

The respect and concern for each other was evident at this first meeting and was particularly noticeable around the ground rule discussion. My responsibilities included booking the venue 15 minutes prior to official start time to allow the participants to debrief before the action research meeting. This was in response to the fact that the Clinical Nurse Leaders would mostly be coming straight from clinical practice to the meetings. The group decided that it would be more beneficial to them and the research if they had the ability to debrief about their respective days before the group commenced. The group agreed that any meetings (not the debrief time) would be taped but that the tape recorder could be turned off if at any time requested by any of the participants. This was an


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