Leadership moments: Understanding nurse clinician-scientists' leadership as embedded sociohistorical practices

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Nurse clinician-scientists are increasingly expected to show leadership aimed at transforming healthcare. However, research on nurse clinician-scientists' leadership (integrating researcher and practitioner roles) is scarce and hardly embedded in sociohistorical contexts. This study introduces leadership moments, that is, concrete events in practices that are perceived as acts of empowerment, in order to understand leadership in the daily work of newly appointed nurse clinician-scientists. Following the learning history method we gathered data using multiple (qualitative) methods to get close to their daily practices. A document analysis provided us with insight into the history of nursing science to illustrate how leadership moments in the everyday work of nurse clinician-scientists in the “here and now” can be related to the particular histories from which they emerged. A qualitative analysis led to three acts of empowerment: (1) becoming visible, (2) building networks, and (3) getting wired in. These acts are illustrated with three series of events in which nurse clinician-scientists' leadership becomes visible. This study contributes to a more socially embedded understanding of nursing leadership, enables us to get a grip on crucial leadership moments, and provides academic and practical starting points for strengthening nurse clinician-scientists' leadership practices. Transformations in healthcare call for transformed notions of leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12580
JournalNursing Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • clinician-scientist
  • daily work
  • ethnography
  • learning history
  • nursing leadership
  • nursing practice
  • nursing science
  • phenomenology


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