An exploration of the role and scope of the Clinical nurse consultant (CNC) in a metropolitan health service

Bloomer, Melissa J. and Cross, Wendy M. 2011, An exploration of the role and scope of the Clinical nurse consultant (CNC) in a metropolitan health service, Collegian, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 61-69, doi: 10.1016/j.colegn.2010.09.002.

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Title An exploration of the role and scope of the Clinical nurse consultant (CNC) in a metropolitan health service
Author(s) Bloomer, Melissa J.ORCID iD for Bloomer, Melissa J.
Cross, Wendy M.
Journal name Collegian
Volume number 18
Issue number 2
Start page 61
End page 69
Total pages 9
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2011-06
ISSN 1322-7696
Keyword(s) Clinical nurse consultant
Nurse leader
Nurse expert
Qualitative research
Focus group
Summary Introduction

Clinical nurse consultants have been a part of the nursing workforce for some time however a lack of clarity regarding this role has led to significant variations in health service expectations, workloads and scope for the Clinical nurse consultants working within this metropolitan health service.


The aim of this study was to explore the role of the CNC as it is perceived by them, in the context of this health service.


A qualitative approach was used for this study. Following ethics approval a single audio-taped focus group was undertaken to gather data. Guiding questions were used to elicit responses from the group, moderated by the co-investigators. The focus group was transcribed verbatim. Each researcher independently analysed the narrative data, using coding and clustering the data to develop primary and sub-themes.


Whilst each participant experiences their role individually, there were four themes derived from comments expressed by the participants: ‘Diversity and conflict’, ‘Leaders but powerless’, ‘Support systems’ and ‘The portfolio holder role’.


The role of the Clinical nurse consultant is complex and diverse. The variability in the role suggests that organisational consensus of the role, scope and purpose of the CNC position has not been actualised, resulting in a lack of support systems, and an underutilisation of the Clinical nurse consultants as leaders, where they can challenge existing practice and guide future directions in care delivery.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.colegn.2010.09.002
Field of Research 1110 Nursing
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2011, Elsevier
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