The purpose of this study was to describe the development and
evaluation of a permanent charge nurse role and report outcomes
of this leadership model over four years.
The study was conducted as part of the University of Colorado Hospital Charge Nurse Leadership Project. The demographic profile of the charge nurse (CN) did not change over the six years of data collection and study: primarily Caucasian women with the majority in practice more than 15 years and having six years or more at UCH, and on their current unit more than three years; 70 percent worked full-time and 78 percent had at least a college degree. Respondents completed the Leadership Practices Inventory. Internal reliability for the instrument in this sample was .92 (Self) and .97 (Observers).
No significant differences between CN demographics and their responses on the LPI were found. CNs were significantly more positive in their assessments than were the staff nurses (observers) on all five leadership practices. Over time significant improvements in CN scores were reported for Inspire and Challenge, while from staff nurses’ perceptions Model, Enable, and Encourage had declined over time. The authors note that the “gaps in perceptions between charge and staff on the Leadership Practices Inventory in part reflects the challenges of this development commitment, and highlights the complex interplay between director, charges, and staff” ( p. 291).