Observation Plan for Nurse Leader Essay

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As a "guardian of care," a nurse leader fulfills one of the most important roles in healthcare. All aspiring nurses and nurse leaders need to learn by observation and critical analysis of what a nurse leader does and how nurse leaders make their decisions. Observing a nurse leader entails documenting details of the day, with a goal of recognizing themes. The following is a plan of observation of a nurse leader who is actively engaged in their role.


The plan of observation is to serve as participant-observer, in a classic ethnographic role. This means that as an observer, I will not simply stand aside and watch but also actively participate in the target research environment, even interacting with the nurse leader when necessary. A participant-observer role allows for naturalistic observations as a qualitative research method.

Expected Roles and Behaviors as a Participant-Observer

As a nurse who is aspiring to be a nurse leader, my role as researcher and observer is twofold. First I will document all nurse leader behaviors, roles, and interpersonal interactions. I will make these documentations as objectively as possible, detailing times of day and other situational variables. Second, I will participate in the healthcare environment actively. The subjective conclusions I draw from the period observation will be combined and analyzed in conjunction with the systematic observations.

Description of Activities

1. Start of day. At the beginning of every day or shift, the nurse leader will perform specific routine tasks according to how he or she runs the unit, and the goals of that day's work. The initial observations will be critical for setting the tone for the rest of the day. Based on personal experience, it is expected that the nurse leader will have a routine check-in with other members of the healthcare team, including physicians and psychologists.

2. Level of patient interactions. Nurse leaders do not necessarily have as much one-on-one time with patients, because they are in a position of leadership that guides other members of the healthcare team. However, nurse leaders do pay close attention to patient files and data, pointing out areas of concern or issues related to care continuity and collaboration with other healthcare workers. During the day, it is possible that the nurse leader does assist nurses who are primarily engaged in patient interactions and these observations will be documented.

3. Management. How does….....

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Monaghan, H.M. (2011). Clarifying the clinical nurse leader role: guardian of care. American Nurse Today 6(4). Retrieved online: https://www.americannursetoday.com/clarifying-the-clinical-nurse-leader-role-guardian-of-care/

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