BACKGROUND: Although organizations strive to develop transformational leaders, frontline nurse managers and directors are often inadequately prepared and lack transformational leadership (TL) behaviors.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship of TL practices, nurse characteristics, and formal leadership training of frontline nurse leaders in a large health system.
METHODS: A survey of 512 frontline nurse leaders in 23 hospitals assessed demographic characteristics, the amount of leadership training received, and self-perceived leadership behaviors, measured through the Leadership Practices Inventory.
RESULTS: Formal training influences only 1 component of TL behaviors, helping train leaders to model the way for their employees. Increasing a nurse leader’s level of formal education has a significant effect in improving overall TL practices and behaviors that inspire a shared vision and challenge the process.
CONCLUSION: To build transformational frontline nurse leaders, organizations should balance formal leadership training programs with advanced degree attainment to encourage leaders to envision and challenge the future.