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‘I mean, obviously you're using your discretion’: Nurses Use of Discretion in Policy Implementation

Hoyle, Louise


Louise Hoyle


This article explores the application of Lipsky’s (1980) notion of street-level bureaucracy for nursing staff. This article aims to demonstrate the importance of discretion within the day-to-day work of front-line nursing staff, which is similar to that of other public-sector workers. The findings are from an exploratory case study, based within a Scottish inner city hospital. It specifically focuses on how nurses can be seen to be street-level bureaucrats and how front-line nursing staff interpret policy. Discretion can be seen to be a significant feature within the front-line practice of nursing staff and this may have implications for the implementation of health policy.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 22, 2013
Publication Date 2014-04
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 12, 2015
Print ISSN 1474-7464
Electronic ISSN 1475-3073
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 189-202
Keywords Discretion; Health policy; Lipsky; Nursing; Policy implementation; Street-level bureaucracy;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Feb 12, 2015