Power and Empowerment in Nursing: Looking Backward to Inform the Future

Milisa Manojlovich, PhD, RN, CCRN



There are compelling reasons to empower nurses. Powerless nurses are ineffective nurses. Powerless nurses are less satisfied with their jobs and more susceptible to burnout and depersonalization. This module begins with an examination of the concept of power; move on to a historical review of nurses’ power over nursing practice; describe the kinds of power over nursing care needed for nurses to make their optimum contribution; and conclude with a discussion on the current state of nursing empowerment related to nursing care. Empowerment for nurses may consist of three components: a workplace that has the requisite structures that promote empowerment; a psychological belief in one’s ability to be empowered; and acknowledgement that there is power in the relationships and caring that nurses provide. A more thorough understanding of these three components may help nurses to become empowered and use their power for better patient care.

Purpose/Goal: To provide a more thorough understanding of empowerment and help nurses become empowered and use their power for better patient care.


1. Define and describe the concept of power as it relates to nurses.
2. Summarize the history of nurses’ power over nursing practice.
3. Give three examples of power over nursing care needed by nurses.
4. Discuss the current state of nursing empowerment related to nursing care.


Milisa Manojlovich, PhD, RN, CCRN, graduated from an ADN program in 1985, and received CCRN certification in 1989. She maintains her CCRN status by practicing as a staff nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Michigan Health System two days a month. She received her PhD in 2003, and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. Dr. Manojlovich has been fascinated by the hospital environment's effect on nursing practice ever since becoming a nurse, and is developing a research program investigating how empowerment can improve both nursing and patient outcomes. Dr. Manojlovich has written numerous publications describing the relationship of empowerment to nursing variables and works closely with Dr. Heather Laschinger, one of the foremost experts on nursing empowerment.

The planners and author of this CNE activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with any commercial company pertaining to this activity.

Contact Hours: 1.64

Expiration Date: 12/31/2013


Member Price: $0.00
Non-Member Price: $20.00

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