Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Marti Jordan

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Patsy Anderson

Committee Member 2 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 3

Dr. Lachel Story

Committee Member 3 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 4

Dr. Susan Mayfield-Johnson

Committee Member 4 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 5

Dr. Will Evans, Jr

Committee Member 5 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice


Nurses are looked upon as leaders in disaster preparedness and response. Charged with making life-altering decisions, experienced nurse leaders utilize analytical and intuitive strategies to manage crisis situations. Rarely recognized by upper-level management and educational institutions, intuition is our natural ability to know something without any evidence or validation. Intuition allows us to make decisions in ever-changing circumstances when solutions are not obvious. Though difficult to explain, intuition is a powerful skill that gives nurse leaders the confidence needed to make decisions based on their previous experience. Experienced nurse leaders utilize intuition to arrive at a solution without conscious awareness and are capable of quickly processing the situation and producing accurate responses with little information. Intuitive decision-making is incorporated into nursing practice on a daily basis; however, we do not know the depth in which intuition exists within the nursing profession and among nursing leadership.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of nursing leaders using intuition as part of the leadership approach in crisis situations. The qualitative study utilized an interpretative phenomenological approach to illustrate and understand the personal experiences of nurse leaders as they faced uncertain circumstances. The study population included nurses in public health or in the private sector who served in leadership roles in crisis situations. Nurses were recruited via telephone, email, and social media based on their current professional relationship with the researcher. Demographic data was collected through online surveys and one-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom® with each participant. These interactions between the interviewer and the interviewee revealed the meaning of their lived experiences and understanding of the world from the participant’s point of view (Creswell & Poth, 2018). The findings of this study provide insight and understanding of the functional, real-life application of intuition by nursing leaders when dealing with complex and rapidly fluctuating situations.