A hermeneutic–phenomenological study of paediatric intensive care unit nurses’ professional identity following hospital redesign: Lessons learned for managers Academic Article uri icon

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  • AIM: To provide insights for health care managers by exploring paediatric intensive care unit nurses' lived experience of professional identity in the context of organisational change. BACKGROUND: While professional identity improves retention of nurses and provision of quality care, outcomes of importance for managers, organisational change perturbs this identity. METHOD: The study used a hermeneutic-phenomenological design. Data were collected via individual interviews, photographs, participant observation and document review. A purposive sampling strategy was used to recruit paediatric intensive care unit nurses (n = 15) in a large Canadian paediatric hospital. RESULTS: Nurses' critical care identity eroded in this organisation due to the interplay between hospital redesign and new eligibility criteria for patient admissions. CONCLUSION: Interactions between multiple projects and the unit context, as well as nursing professional identity, need to be considered early on during project planning. This study fills an important gap in research concerning the management challenges brought about by the intersection of multiple changes. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: The results from this study bring to light three important lessons for nurse managers: 1) the specific unit context should be evaluated before a project is initiated; 2) the physical environment needs to be considered when determining staffing requirements; and 3) identity transitions need to be managed.


  • Frechette, Julie
  • Bitzas, Vasiliki
  • Kilpatrick, Kelley
  • Aubry, Monique
  • Lavoie‐Tremblay, Mélanie

publication date

  • May 2020