Variations in clinical nurse leaders' confidence with performing the core role functions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical nurse leader (CNL) practice, by definition, requires individuals to make career transitions. CNLs must adjust to their new work role and responsibilities and doing so also entails individual adjustment. Prior work has not examined the role of individual-level factors in effective CNL role transition. This study contributes to CNL implementation efforts by developing understanding of personal and contextual factors that explain variation in individuals' levels of self-confidence with performing the key functions of the CNL role. Data were gathered using a cross-sectional survey from a national sample of registered nurses (RNs) certified as CNLs. Respondents' perceptions of their confidence in performing CNL role competencies were measured with the Clinical Nurse Leader Self-Efficacy Scale (CNLSES; Gilmartin MJ, Nokes, K. (in press). The Clinical Nurse Leader Self Efficacy Scale: Results of a pilot study. Nursing Economic$). The CNLSES is a 35-item state-specific self-efficacy scale with established measurement properties that assesses nurses' perceptions of their ability to function effectively as a CNL. Demographic data were also collected. Data were analyzed using a general linear regression model. One hundred forty-seven certified CNLs participated in the survey. Results indicate that respondents vary in their confidence with performing the nine role competencies associated with CNL practice. Results from regression analyses also show that respondents' confidence in their abilities to carry out the core functions associated with the CNL role varied significantly across geographic region, organizational type, and by CNL graduate program model. The results of this study show important differences in CNLs' levels of self-confidence with the core competencies of their role. As a result, it may be important to develop targeted career transition interventions to gain the full benefit of CNL practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Career transitions
  • Clinical nurse leader
  • Practice confidence
  • Self-efficacy
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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