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Nurs Ethics. 2015 Nov;22(7):790-802. doi: 10.1177/0969733014547973. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Nurses' reflections on good nurse traits: Implications for improving care quality.

Author information

1
Hung Kuang University, Taiwan, R.O.C. shuyueh@hk.edu.tw.
2
Chung-Jen Junior College of Nursing, Health Sciences and Management, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Good nurses show concern for patients by caring for them effectively and attentively to foster their well-being. However, nurses cannot be taught didactically to be "good" or any trait that characterizes a good nurse. Nurses' self-awareness of their role traits warrants further study.

OBJECTIVES:

This study aimed (a) to develop a strategy to elicit nurses' self-exploration of the importance of good nurse traits and (b) to explore any discrepancies between such role traits perceived by nurses as ideally and actually important.

RESEARCH DESIGN:

For this mixed-method study, we used good nurse trait card play to trigger nurses' reflections based on clinical practice. Nurse participants appraised the ideal and actual importance of each trait using a Q-sort grid. The gap between the perceived ideal and actual importance of each trait was examined quantitatively, while trait-related clinical experiences were analyzed qualitatively.

PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT:

Participants were 35 in-service nurses (mean age = 31.6 years (range = 23-49 years); 10.1 years of nursing experience (range = 1.5-20 years)) recruited from a teaching hospital in Taiwan.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS:

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the study site.

FINDINGS:

Good nurse trait card play with a Q-sort grid served as an icebreaker to help nurse participants talk about their experiences as embodied in good quality nursing care. Nurses' perceived role-trait discrepancies were divided into three categories: over-performed, least discrepant, and under-performed. The top over-performed trait was "obedience."

DISCUSSION:

Patients' most valued traits ("patient," "responsible," "cautious," and "considerate") were perceived by participants as ideally important but were under-performed, perhaps due to experienced nurses' loss of idealism.

CONCLUSION:

Good nurse trait card play with Q-sort grid elicited nurses' self-dialogue and revealed evidence of the incongruity between nurses' perceived ideal and actual importance of traits. The top over-performed trait, "obedience," deserves more study.

KEYWORDS:

Card play; good nurse traits; nurse; quality nursing care; reflection; role–trait discrepancy

PMID:
25244920
DOI:
10.1177/0969733014547973
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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