The aim of this study was to examine the influence of structure and process on clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role implementation.
We conducted a secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data.
The study was performed in Canada.
The authors included 445 of 471 questionnaires (94.5%) of graduate-prepared CNSs.
Based on Donabedian’s framework, we conducted a secondary analysis of CNS responses using hierarchical regression. The internal consistency of the 6 CNS role dimensions and team dynamics subscales was excellent.
The use of a framework to guide CNS role implementation influences all the role dimensions. Employer understanding of the CNS role, working in an urban catchment area, specialty certification, and more years in a CNS role had a direct positive influence on team dynamics. Full-time employment exerted a direct negative influence on this dimension. Furthermore, team dynamics (as a mediator variable), seeing patients in practice, and having an office in the clinical unit exerted a direct positive influence on the clinical dimension. Having an annual performance appraisal and a job description exerted a direct negative influence on the clinical dimension. Employer understanding, working in an urban area, full-time employment, and specialty certification had an indirect effect on the clinical dimension. Accountability to a nonnurse manager exerted a direct negative influence on the education dimension. The research and scholarly/professional development dimensions were influenced by more years in a CNS role. Accountability to a nurse manager exerted a direct positive influence on the organizational leadership dimension; unionization and seeing patients in practice had a direct negative influence on this dimension. Seeing patients in practice and full-time employment exerted a direct positive influence on the consultation dimension.
The identification of structures and processes that influence CNS role implementation may inform strategies used by providers and decision makers to optimize these roles across healthcare settings and support the delivery of high-quality care.