Unmasking impostor phenomenon: a study of nurses in specialist roles

Tracy Ord*, Dale Metcalfe, Jane Greaves, Philip Hodgson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This cross-sectional study aimed to explore the incidence of impostor phenomenon among 79 nurses in specialist roles in a single NHS trust
in England, using an online anonymous questionnaire that included the Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale and free-text responses. Results indicated a high prevalence of impostor phenomenon, with no specific variables predicting its occurrence. Four main themes emerged: self-doubt, role expectations, fear of exposure as an impostor, and factors leading to burnout. The study highlights the need for targeted support and training for this cohort, particularly as impostor phenomenon was found to be prevalent during career transitions and was not limited by gender. The findings have implications for nursing management and education, offering the opportunity to develop specific support mechanisms to alleviate impostor phenomenon and potentially reduce attrition rates in specialist nursing roles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2024

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