Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 1025-9848
NEL, Elzabé; MULLER, Ann and COLYN, Adele. The competencies of the shift leader in the intensive care unit setting, in a private hospital group in South Africa. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp. 1-10. ISSN 1025-9848.
Newly qualified intensive care nurses are forced into positions of authority and responsibility as shift leaders at an early stage and are not given a chance to consolidate their new knowledge with practice. They have to be responsible and accountable not only for their own actions, but also for those of their staff. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the competencies of the shift leader in the intensive care unit setting to determine whether there is a gap between what is expected of the shift leader and what is happening in reality. A quantitative, descriptive design was used and cluster sampling was implemented. Questionnaires were used to gather data from three clusters, comprising 11 hospitals from a single private hospital group. Of the 251 questionnaires that were handed out to intensive care personnel (including trained and non-trained staff), 98 were returned, resulting in a response rate of 39%. An in-depth literature study and submission of questionnaires to experts before being administered to respondents ensured validity and reliability. Results were used to describe a typology of the competencies of the shift leader in the intensive care setting and indicated that respondents classified competencies related to the application of the nursing process in the intensive care unit in all its facets as essential competencies. None were classified as a critical competency and only four were classified as specific competencies. All respondents in the three clusters regarded their shift leaders as competent.