Understanding courage in the context of nursing

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


In 2012 a new vision for Nurses, Midwives and Care givers (Cummings and Bennett 2012), outlined what have come to be referred to as the 6 C’s. Reports such as the Francis report 2013) highlight occasions where courage was not demonstrated. Although some research is available Internationally there is an identified dearth of research studies on courage in Nursing in the United Kingdom (UK) hence the focus of this study.

Aim: To enhance understanding of adult nurses use of courage in their everyday professional practice

Methods: Grounded theory underpinned with the epistemology of social constructionism, consistent with Charmaz (2014). Ethical approval was granted to undertake unstructured interviews with qualified adult nurses on their understanding of courage in their professional practice. Participants were self-selecting, responding to fliers and presentation of the research premise. The interviews have been conducted, recorded and transcribed. Nvivo assisted with coding and identification of themes.

Results: 12 unstructured interviews with staff in the acute and community settings have been undertaken during 2015. The themes suggest nurses view courage as a complex phenomenon. Age, personality, support, confidence, knowledge and experience are all seen to be integral to courage. The themes from the interview data are ready for presentation.

Discussion: The discussion points are around nurses differing views of the impact of age, personality, support structures, confidence knowledge and experience and how these influence their ability to be courageous. Is courage inherent, expected, difficult to use and do nurses feel supported? The derived themes are in the context of the UK experience but may resonate with International evidence and colleagues.

Conclusions: Courage as understood by nurses is a complex phenomenon. Understanding of this can inform future practice and enable us to prepare and support nurses to use courage in the practice setting.
Period8 Apr 2016
Event titleRoyal College of Nursing (RCN) International Research Conference and Exhibition 2016
Event typeConference
LocationEdingburgh, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational