Irish Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialists’ Experiences of Their Role: A Qualitative Exploration

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Aim and Objectives:The aim of this study was to explore respiratory clinical nurse specialists’ (CNSs’) experiences of their role.Background:Respiratory illnesses are currently 1 of the top 3 causes of mortality resulting in 1 in 5 deaths and are associated with significant human burden. Respiratory CNSs play a vital role in the management of respiratory disease through supporting improvements in quality of life, reduction of exacerbations, and subsequent hospital admission. While published literature exists regarding the CNS role, there is a dearth of published literature on the respiratory CNS role.Design:A qualitative descriptive design allowed the researcher to elicit respiratory CNSs’ experiences of their role.Methods:Ethical approval was obtained, CNSs were purposively sampled (n = 10), and data were collected by semistructured interviews, transcribed, and analyzed using content thematic analysis.Results:Three themes were identified within the findings: “multidimensional role,” “interacting and collaborating,” and “advancing the role.”Conclusions:Overall the study highlights that respiratory CNSs are active in the role as clinical experts, advocators, educators, collaborators, consultants, and health promoters. These findings recognize the importance of evaluating and building on the current CNS workforce in respiratory care and evaluating future development of the CNS role in specialized aspects of respiratory care in line with population and service needs.

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