Experiences of Professional Autonomy Among Critical Care Nurses in Kenya: A Qualitative Study


  • JK Njoroge Kenyatta University
  • Lister Onsongo
  • Grace Githemo




Background: Exercising autonomy allows nurses to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. However, more information is needed about the critical care nurses' perceptions of their professional autonomy in rural areas.

Objective: To explore the perceptions, facilitators and barriers to professional autonomy among critical care nurses in rural Kenya.

Methods: The hermeneutic phenomenological study design was used in this study. Data were collected in a critical care unit using a semi-structured interview guide. A sample of 10 participants were recruited. The study was conducted in Nyeri County Referral Hospital.

Results: Three themes emerged from the study on the nurses' experiences of professional autonomy, perceptions of autonomy, facilitators of autonomy, and barriers to autonomy.

Conclusion: Autonomy undeniably plays a pivotal role in defining the professional status of the nursing profession. Perceptions, facilitators and barriers to professional autonomy form the background of the current professional status. Nurses, therefore, exercise autonomy effectively when it aligns with patient care needs and when a conducive environment supports it.


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Original Research