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Nursing empowerment has been studied for decades, and Canadian nurse researchers have been some of the foremost researchers and experts in the field of empowerment theory. In this module, we discussed structural empowerment, psychological empowerment, and leader empowering behaviours.


Structural empowerment refers to sources of power in an organization where nurses work. Leaders are often sources of structural empowerment (SE) for staff. Organizational empowerment structures (SE) are necessary for nurses to do their work effectively. It is often the responsibility of contingent reward transactional leaders (effective managers) to ensure that nurses have ready access to SE. The types of SE are a) critical information; b) resources–human resources, such as enough staff; and material resources, such as sufficient equipment and supplies; c) opportunities for continuous learning and professional development; and d) opportunities to engage in shared decision-making.


Psychological empowerment (PE) is what we believe about ourselves: if we believe we are empowered or not within our work environments. Nurse researchers have shown that there is a special relationship between SE and PE. When nurses are psychologically empowered, they are more apt to take advantage of sources of SE, leading to more positive outcomes for themselves, patients, and the organization. Researchers depict this relationship as: SE→PE→increased nurse job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and increased patient satisfaction. Explore the literature to find out more about how nursing empowerment influences positive outcomes for nurses, patients, and the organization.


Finally, there are five categories of leader empowering behaviours (LEB). Leader empowering behaviours (LEB) are basic, relational ways to enable and to empower others. They require very few resources beyond a leader’s commitment to conscientiously use them with others.


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Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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