A grounded theory of courage in nursing - a complex, multi layered phenomenon

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


Background: The nursing vision, outlined the 6 C’s; one being courage (Cummings and Bennett 2012). ‘Leading change, adding value’ (NHS England 2016) reaffirmed courage. There is a dearth of research on courage in nursing, and little mention as to how courage may be realized, strengthening the study’s rationale. The thesis and grounded theory is now complete and ready for presentation.
Aim: To develop a theoretical understanding of the meaning and use of courage in nursing.
Methods: A social constructionist Grounded theory approach, was used. This comprised: purposive sampling, theoretical sampling, constant comparative analysis, clarification of categories and finally an emergent theory. Following ethical approval, in 2015 -2016, 12 initial unstructured interviews were undertaken with nurses, focused on their understanding and use of courage. Four further semi-structured interviews, clarifying early themes were conducted. An iterative analytical process resulted in emergence of a co-constructed, theoretical model of courage.
Findings and discussion: Courage is a complex, multi layered phenomenon. Several categories were identified contributing to the emerged theory: being socialized into nursing, the impact of personal life, learning about courage, the psychological, social, moral and professional meaning of courage, doing something for the patient and themselves, and the consequences of using courage. These were presented as, where nurses courage comes from, the meaning of courage, using courage and what needs to be in place for nurses to use courage.
The emergent theory of courage in the context of nursing, suggests nursing as a profession continues to be constrained by its history, as a socially constructed, gendered female, caring occupation.
Conclusions: Nurses need a positive psychology and psychological support, socializing into nursing, a strong social identity, team support, and a conducive organizational culture to be able to develop and implement courage in practice. The context is the UK but may resonate with International colleagues.
Period18 Apr 2018
Event titleRCN International Nursing Research Conference 2018
Event typeConference
LocationBirmingham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational