Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Betty Taylor

Third Advisor

Brian Gerrard


Creating a team on which caregivers consistently deliver safe and compassionate care requires ongoing developmental attention, not just for excellent technical skills, but also for exceptional interpersonal, relational, and service skills. Supportive and encouraging peer-developmental relationships have the potential to augment the role of a nurse manager in addressing "soft skill" learning and development needs.

The specific construct of peer coaching represents a small but emerging focus in the scholarly literature. In the healthcare setting, there are relatively few studies of the use of peer coaching outside the classroom setting. There are no scholarly reports documenting the study of peer coaching in a hospital setting for the intended purpose of supporting service, communication, and interpersonal skill development. It was the intent of the study to explore whether peer coaches trained in an intentionally positive model of peer coaching were perceived as facilitating high-quality connections with their coachees, and to determine if the peer-coaching process was perceived as benefiting team knowledge, skills, and innovation with regard to patient/family-centered interpersonal communication, relational, and service skills.

This was a mixed-methods descriptive and correlational study using a a non experimental, cross-sectional survey design with intact groups. The practice being investigated was receiving training in positive peer coaching. Two preexisting survey instruments were adapted and modified for the study setting and combined into one instrument that also included study-specific and participant-specific questions. The instrument was made available to volunteer participants who received positive peer-coaching training, their managers, and the nursing-staff participants of the coaching groups (coachees), and included open-ended questions and three subscales. The survey period followed training in peer coaching and a subsequent period of practical experience.

Data collected from 187 participants provided empirical evidence, from both a quantitative and qualitative standpoint, that despite some reported constraints such as time and availability, the majority of peer coaches, managers, and coachees perceived the experience of peer coaching to be both positive and effective. Beneficial impacts were perceived for the team as a whole, the individual participants, and for the patients and their families. There was a strong and direct correlation between perceived positive peer-coaching competencies and the development of high-quality connections. Both were also directly and strongly correlated to knowledge creation and sharing among the team.

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