Florence Nightingale's legacy for clinical academics: A framework analysis of a clinical professorial network and a model for clinical academia

Natalie Pattison, Christi Deaton, Candy McCabe, Vivien Coates, Bridget Johnston, Fiona Nolan, Lisa Whiting, Michelle Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Background: Clinical academic nursing roles are rare, and clinical academic leadership positions even more scarce. Amongst the United Kingdom (UK) academia, only 3% of nurses who are employed within universities are clinically active. Furthermore, access to research fellowships and research grant funding for nurses in clinical or academic practice is also limited. The work of Florence Nightingale, the original role model for clinical academic nursing, is discussed in terms of how this has shaped and influenced that of clinical academic nurse leaders in modern UK healthcare settings. We analysed case studies with a view to providing exemplars and informing a new model by which to visualise a trajectory of clinical academic careers. Methods: A Framework analysis of seven exemplar cases was conducted for a network of Clinical Academic Nursing Professors (n = 7), using a structured template. Independent analysis highlighted shared features of the roles: (a) model of clinical academic practice, (b) infrastructure for the post, (c) capacity‐building initiatives, (d) strategic influence, (e) wider influence, (f) local and national implementation initiatives, (g) research area and focus and (h) impact and contribution. Findings: All seven of the professors of nursing involved in this discourse were based in both universities and healthcare organisations in an equal split. All had national and international profiles in their specialist clinical areas and were implementing innovation in their clinical and teaching settings through boundary spanning. We outline a model for career trajectories in clinical academia, and how leadership is crucial. Conclusion: The model outlined emphasises the different stages of clinical academic roles in nursing. Nursing as a discipline needs to embrace the value of these roles, which have great potential to raise the standards of healthcare and the status of the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3-4
Early online date2 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Clinical Nursing published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Clinical academic
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Nursing research
  • framework analysis
  • professorial
  • senior leadership
  • General Nursing
  • General Medicine


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