Background: No studies explore the career core of successful scientiﬁc leaders in nursing, a context where role models and career support would be desirable. To achieve a successful academic career, there is a need for an in-depth understanding of how successful scientiﬁc leaders in healthcare think in order to guide junior researchers through their early careers.
Aim: To explore the main concern of successful scientiﬁc leaders in nursing and their mindset, motivators and strategies for dealing with it.
Methods: A strategic group of 24 scientiﬁc leaders in nursing (professors and associate professors) in the United States (US) (n=12) and Sweden (n=12) was interviewed. The transcribed text was analysed using grounded theory.
Results: The core category, fulﬁlment, summarizes a process where the generated grounded theory is presented through four main categories: create, struggle, interact and maintain, illustrating how the informants dealt with fulﬁlment, which was their main concern. The theoretical link between the strategies is professional dedication through reﬂection, characterized by a will to go beyond themselves to be clinically useful and implement their research.
Conclusion: Successful scientiﬁc leaders in nursing construct a foundation for professional fulﬁlment by doing good for patients and improving the healthcare system maintaining being creative and interacting with others, all of which involve a great deal of struggle.
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