Significance and Background

Leadership competencies were established for formal nursing roles (i.e. nurse executives), but not for informal nurse leader roles (i.e. clinical staff nurse leader). A set of comprehensive clinical staff nurse leader (CSNL) competencies would facilitate evaluation of the CSNL role in providing safe, quality, and efficient patient care.


The purpose of this pilot was to establish a preliminary set of CSNL competencies with associated set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) for each competency identified through the CSNL’s voice. Theory & Design Underpinned by the Authentic Leadership Theory, this pilot was a multiphase sequential explanatory mixed methods design utilizing an online survey and focus groups to explore CSNL competencies, followed by a final set of preliminary competencies established using a Delphi technique.


This was a pilot evaluating the feasibility of implementing a nationwide three-phase research protocol to establish CSNL competencies. Registered Nurse (RN) CSNLs were the target population. Various sampling techniques recruited participants to specifically address the research question(s) for each phase of the pilot. In Phase 1, the recruited sample responded to an online survey using a stratified, random selection of acute care hospitals. In Phase 2, volunteers were recruited for a virtual focus group to explore and explain the survey results. Finally, the Phase 3 CSNL subject matter experts (SMEs) were identified by Phase 2 participants’ recommendations and recruited to engage a Delphi procedure to review, revise, and confirm a final set of preliminary CSNL competencies.

Date of publication

Fall 12-20-2019

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Ellen Fineout-Overholt; Dr. Beth Mastel-Smith; Dr. Lynda Sanchez


Nursing PhD

Included in

Nursing Commons