Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Heather Laschinger

Second Advisor

Dr. Joan Finegan

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Wong


In an effort to improve patient safety, healthcare organizations have begun to focus on nursing leadership at the clinical level. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a model of staff nurse clinical leadership, defined as a process of leadership which operates at the point of care and is demonstrated in the leader behaviours of staff nurses providing direct patient care. A new measure of clinical leadership was developed for this study. Staff nurse perceptions of the influence of nurse manager leadership practices and empowering work environments on their ability to use clinical leader behaviours in their practice were examined. This was a non-experimental design study using a survey method to access registered nurses in direct care roles in acute care hospitals in Ontario. Results indicated that staff nurses have integrated clinical leadership into their practice and show staff nurse perceptions of nurse manager leadership practices were directly and positively related to empowered work environments. It was through these environments that nurse manager leadership practices influenced staff nurse clinical leadership. This study provided an important contribution to understanding the concept of staff nurse clinical leadership and how this relates to work empowerment and nurse manger leadership practices. It has important implications for nursing practice, nursing administration and nursing education.



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