<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>While the Iranian nursing profession tries to reach to its full capacity for participating in the maintenance of public health, its desire to develop is strongly influenced by cultural, economic, and religious factors. The concept of empowerment is frequently used in nursing and the health services, particularly in relation to the quality of care, since the mission of nursing is to provide safe and quality nursing care thereby enabling patients to achieve their maximum level of wellness. When considering the importance of nursing services in any health system, the 54th World Health Assembly recommended that programs be designed to strengthen and promote the nursing profession. Since empowerment is crucial to the role of nurses, a qualitative study was conducted and aimed at designing a model for empowering nurses in Iran.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>A grounded theory approach was used for analyzing the participants' experiences, their perceptions and the strategies affecting empowerment. Data collection was done through Semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Forty-four participants were interviewed and 12 sessions of observation were carried out.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Three main categories emerged from the data collected; these are "personal empowerment", "collective empowerment", and "the culture and structure of the organization." From the participants' perspective, empowerment is a dynamic process that results from mutual interaction between personal and collective traits of nurses as well as the culture and the structure of the organization. Impediments, such as power dynamics within the health care system hinder nurses from demonstrating that they possess the essential ingredients of empowerment.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>A model was designed for empowering the nursing profession in Iran. Implementing this model will not only define nursing roles, identify territories in the national healthcare system, but it will restructure nursing systems, sub-systems, and services. Currently no such model exists; therefore, restructuring of the nursing system, including its services, education and research subsystems is recommended.</p
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