BEYERMAN, KATHLEEN L.; EDD

                         BOSTON UNIVERSITY, 1990
                         HEALTH SCIENCES, NURSING (0569); EDUCATION, ADULT AND CONTINUING (0516)

                         The purpose of this study was to identify nurses with high clinical nursing practice opinion leadership and
                         to determine the relationship between opinion leadership and several variables: self-designated opinion
                         leadership, clinical nursing expertise, and leadership style. The subjects for this study were drawn from
                         community, suburban community, suburban teaching, and municipal teaching hospitals. The key
                         informant technique was used to identify opinion leaders. The opinion leaders and a control group were
                         studied to ascertain their self-perception of opinion leadership, level of clinical nursing expertise, and
                         use of a collaborative leadership style. The Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis were used to test the
                         hypotheses. The Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient was used to evaluate the relationship between
                         some of the variables. Data analysis revealed that opinion leaders scored significantly higher than
                         non-opinion leaders on the self-designation opinion leadership instrument and the clinical nursing
                         practice competency scale. They did not, however, score significantly higher than non-opinion leaders
                         on the use of a collaborative leadership style. Opinion leaders in different hospitals did not score
                         significantly differently on any of the instruments with the exception of the self-designation opinion
                         leadership inventory. Opinion leaders are the nurses that influence change in nursing practice by either
                         promoting an innovation or rejecting it. It is important for us to understand their characteristics so that we
                         may effectively incorporate them into the diffusion of innovations in nursing practice and hospital care.


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