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Cynthia Fletcher


The link between compassion and caring at all levels of nursing practice and the enhancement of the patient experience is well-documented. However, the techniques nurse executives use to incorporate caring into their daily practice while coping with competing organizational priorities is poorly understood. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study, guided by Watson's theory of human caring, was to examine detailed accounts of the experiences of nurse executives incorporating compassion and caring into their daily practice, including techniques they use to build and sustain compassion and caring while balancing competing priorities. A purposive sample of 10 nurse executives participated in the study. Audio recordings of each participant's face-to-face interview were transcribed and coded using NVivo 12 software while the demographic surveys were analyzed using SurveyMonkey. The data analysis was performed using the interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) process. Four themes emerged from the analysis: (a) preparation for executive role, (b) execution of responsibilities, (c) demonstration of caring, and (d) balancing influences. The key findings revealed that caring permeates the nurse executive's practice and nurse executives require mentorship to effectively execute their function. Based on these results, nurse executives should focus on welcoming guidance from other experienced mentors and nurse leaders. Nursing administrators, educators, and researchers can use these findings to design further research exploring the experience of nurse executives from additional settings, cultures, and ethnicities. Positive social change may result from this work by providing direction to nurse executives seeking to successfully navigate corporate culture while improving the staff work environment, quality of care, staff retention, and patient outcomes through compassion and caring.

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