Vickie Hughes

Vickie Hughes

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, USA

Title: Nursing Leadership Development within the Irish Context


Vickie Hughes has serviced in various clinical, educational, and leadership positions over the past 31 years. She retired as a colonel after 27 years of service within the United States Air Force. Her mental health clinical background includes working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. Dr. Hughes obtained the Adult Psychiatric/Mental Health CNS certification in 1996 and was recognized as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in 1998. She earned a doctor of nursing science degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Troy State University, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina. She has nine years of teaching and course development experience to include serving as a dean for an Associate Degree Health Science program. In addition, she has served in leadership positions as a director of nursing and a clinic CEO.


Purpose There is limited literature published related to nursing leadership development within small island countries.  This project, Irish Nurse Leadership Development, is part of a larger study examining cultural factors that influence leadership development within four small island countries in Europe.  The development of nursing leadership in Ireland is on-going and still found today. This study examined phenomenal nurse leaders who found ways to make numerous advancements in nursing as a profession. The purpose of this study was to understand nurse leadership development within the Irish context. 

Method A focused ethnographical research design was used in interviewing four Irish nurses as they have evolved and assumed clinical, administrative, and academic leadership roles.

Results The major themes from this study included: critical feminist theory, leadership strategies, political acumen, and cultural impact.

Conclusion Irish nurse leaders demonstrated strategies to overcome cultural, political, and socio-economic barriers to influence policy in developing their nursing practice and leadership role while forging a path toward professional development and advancement.