Investigating the role of clinical nurse consultants in one health district from multiple stakeholder perspectives: A cooperative inquiry

Kenneth Walsh, Janine Bothe, Denise Edgar, Geraldine Beaven, Bernadette Burgess, Vhari Dickson, Stephen Dunn, Lynda Horning, Janice Jensen, Bronia Kandl, Miriam Nonu, Fran Owen, Cheryle Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The impetus for this research came from a group of 11 Clinical Nurse Consultants (CNCs) within a health service in NSW, Australia, who wanted to investigate the CNC role from multiple stakeholder perspectives. With support from academic researchers, the CNCs designed and implemented the study.
Objectives: The aim of this research project was to investigate the role of the CNC from the multiple perspectives of CNCs and other stakeholders who work with CNCs in the Health District.
Design: This was a co-operative inquiry that utilised qualitative descriptive research approach.
Methods: Co-operative inquiry methods enabled 11 CNCs to work as co-researchers and to conduct the investigation. The co-researchers implemented a qualitative descriptive design for the research and used interviews (7) and focus groups (16) with CNC stakeholders (n = 103) to gather sufficient data to investigate the role of the CNC in the organisation. Thematic analysis was undertaken to obtain the results.
Findings: The CNC role is invaluable to all stakeholders and it was seen as the “glue” which holds teams together. Stakeholder expectations of the CNC role were multiple and generally agreed. Five themes derived from the data are reported as “clinical leadership as core”, “making a direct difference to patient care”, “service development as an outcome”, “role breadth or narrowness and boundaries”, and “career development”. There was clear appreciation of the work that CNCs do in their roles, and the part that the CNC role plays in achieving quality health outcomes.
Conclusion: The role of the CNC is complex and the CNCs themselves often negotiate these complexities to ensure beneficial outcomes for the patient and organisation. For the wider audience this study has given further insights into the role of these nurses and the perspectives of those with whom they work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Nurse
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • advanced practice nursing
  • clinical nurse consultants
  • nurse's role
  • nursing workforce
  • clinical leadership
  • co-operative inquiry
  • qualitative description

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