The ever-changing demands of recruitment and retention, both nationally and at a local level, have resulted in many staff with little or no experience in managing a unit in a secure setting. This study aimed to elicit the views of a cross-section of unit-based staff and middle management, on their experiences of leadership and taking charge of a shift/unit. A qualitative descriptive design was adapted for this study. The data were collected using focus group interviews guided by semistructured interview schedules. Twenty-one subjects participated in three focus groups. The data were analyzed using Colaizzi's (1978) framework. Five themes emerged from the data analysis. These are: Perceived practical skills deficit, perceived difference in experience, training program, leadership skills, and teaching learning methods. Implications: The themes generated will provide a framework to develop a training program, which will prepare staff to take on a leadership role within a unit, if required.
1Training & Development Department, National Forensic Mental Health Service, Dublin, Ireland
2School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
Received: May 15, 2008; accepted: February 26, 2009
Correspondence Michael Brennan, RPN, RNT, Dip Social Studies, Cert Management Studies, Dip Addiction, MEd. School of Nursing & Midwifery, 24 D'Olier Street, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel +353 1 8963950/086 0247433; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org