The importance of inspiring a shared vision

Jacqueline Martin, Brendan McCormack, Donna Fitzsimons, Rebecca Sprig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Leadership programmes have been used to support nurse leaders in developing their skills and equiping them as transformative change agents in healthcare organisations around the world. For this purpose, the Royal College of Nursing’s Clinical Leadership Programme has been adapted, implemented, and evaluated in Switzerland. Although a shared vision is a key element in leading organisations and in change, the impact of such a vision on clinical practice is rarely described in the literature.

Aims and objectives: To determine qualitatively the benefits of a shared vision as one essential feature of leadership behaviour.

Methods: In the context of a mixed methods research study, individual interviews with nurse leaders, as well as focus group interviews with their respective teams, were recorded and transcribed verbatim prior to qualitative content analysis. In order to integrate all findings, a triangulation protocol was applied after separate analysis.

Findings: Having a vision helped leaders and their teams to become inspired and committed to a shared goal. Moreover, the vision was a strong driving force for ongoing and systematic practice development and thus established a culture that favoured quality and safety improvement in patient care. However, the strategic direction needed to be tempered; the positive impact on teams and their care practices generated a great deal of enthusiasm, which had the potential to overload the organisation through taking on more than could reasonably be accomplished.

Conclusion: The study found that a vision provides orientation and meaning for leaders and their teams. It helps them to focus their energies and engage in the transformation of practice. However, it is very important for leaders to monitor closely the energy level of teams and the organisation, in order to maintain the balance between innovation/transformation and relaxation/recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Practice Development Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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