emment, nursing management, power, women, work environment


Aim: To understand the factors that affect power in hospital-based nursing and reveal how the female gender affects an individual's ability to feel empowered.

Design: Critical qualitative research design.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurses working in inpatient hospital settings in Utah and New Mexico. Data were collected from February to March 2022. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Sixteen participants were interviewed. Six themes were identified from the data, four of which related to nurses' power at work, and two of which specifically related to how gender affects a nurse's ability to use power and feel empowered. These themes include supportive leaders, positive unit culture, successful advocacy, personal factors, societal gender roles and sexism.

Conclusion: Empowered nurses can revolutionize health care. The themes developed in this study will help nurse leaders and nurses alike increase nurses' ability to use their power and feel empowered in the workplace.

Impact: Nurse leaders should strive to be supportive of their nurses and build a positive work environment while also providing consistent consequences for sexist actions of staff. Nurses should take opportunities to advocate for their patients, be autonomous and build their knowledge base to improve empowerment. As nurse leaders and nurses alike work together to improve health care, nurse experience, patient and clinical outcomes will be improved.

Patient or public contribution: The nurses interviewed for this study contributed their experiences and insights during data collection. Some also contributed rigour to the data analysis process by participating in member checking.

Original Publication Citation

George, K. C., Lyman, B., Pilarte Alcantra, A., & Stephenson, M. (2022). Women's power in the nursing workplace: A critical qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Advanced Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

Included in

Nursing Commons