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The importance of communication for clinical leaders in mental health nursing : the perspective of nurses working in mental health
Communication has been identified as an important attribute of clinical leadership in nursing. However, there is a paucity of research on its relevance in mental health nursing. This article presents the findings of a grounded theory informed study exploring the attributes and characteristics required for effective clinical leadership in mental health nursing, specifically the views of nurses working in mental health about the importance of effective communication in day to day clinical leadership. In-depth interviews were conducted to gain insight into the participants’ experiences and views on clinical leadership in mental health nursing. The data that emerged from these interviews were constantly compared and reviewed, ensuring that any themes that emerged were based on the participants’ own experiences and views. Participants recognized that effective communication was one of the attributes of effective clinical leadership and they considered communication as essential for successful working relationships and improved learning experiences for junior staff and students in mental health nursing. Four main themes emerged: choice of language; relationships; nonverbal communication, and listening and relevance. Participants identified that clinical leadership in mental health nursing requires effective communication skills, which enables the development of effective working relationships with others that allows them to contribute to the retention of staff, improved outcomes for clients, and the development of the profession.