Gaining clinical wisdom from adversity: Nurse leaders’ ethical conflict and resilience experiences

D. Furlong, B. Harris, K. Weaver


Developing effective nurse leaders in today’s
“reengineered” corporate healthcare cultures requires that more attention be given to the preparation of ethical leadership during undergraduate programs and nurses’ formative years in practice. Through analyzing the experiences of three nurse leaders dealing with ethical conflicts and the meaning they made of these experiences, we identified that nurses need practical guidance to successfully negotiate ethical conflicts, take risks to uphold their ethical codes, and foster collaborative relationships. According to these nurse leaders, it was important to mentor student and novice nurses in working through workplace ethical conflicts and help guide them through the formulation of successful practical strategies. Our findings showed that these nurses developed resilience and clinical wisdom which they carried through to their leadership practice and future situations.


nurse leadership; relational ethics; clinical wisdom; resilience; narrative inquiry; reflection

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