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Modern matron struggling to fulfil role as leader
Date:3/14/2008

Experts at The University of Nottingham say modern matrons with their managerial and entrepreneurial skills are struggling to fulfil their role as leader, and this remains a major challenge in a crucially important area of healthcare.

Researchers at the Institute for Science and Society say modern matrons face organisational barriers to empowerment, and unless significant budgetary responsibility is made part of the role, personal skills alone may not be sufficient to sustain it and may not lead to achieving control over infection the initial trigger for bringing back matron.

In a paper published in the British Journal for Infection Control researchers say there are gaps between aspirations and realities which may lead to problems in preventing and controlling infection.

Brigitte Nerlich, Professor of Science, Language, and Society, whose expertise lies in cultural foundations of expert and lay beliefs and attitudes to MRSA, said: The research has shown that the modern matron does not always achieve the status of a powerful figurehead who would be highly visible on the ward and who would have time and resources to effectively resolve issues in infection control.

Using methods derived from linguistics and discourse analysis, researchers analysed policy documents and transcripts from ten interviews with modern matrons. By calculating word frequencies they were able to retrieve words frequently employed to prescribe responsibilities of the modern matron set out in policy documents and compare them with words used by modern matrons themselves to describe their vision of their role and responsibilities. This approach helped them to identify examples where matrons appear to disassociate themselves from the role of an empowered manager who has control over human and financial resources to resolve problems in infection control efficiently.

Personified by Hattie Jacques in the Carry On films of the 1950s and early 1960s,
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Contact: Brigitte Nerlich
brigitte.nerlich@nottingham.ac.uk
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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