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Beyond the Classroom to Coaching: Preparing New Nurse Managers

DeCampli, Pamela MSN, RN; Kirby, Karen K. MSN, RN; Baldwin, Claire MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3181d913db

Few would question that frontline nurse managers are critical to the success of any organization. They are the key interface with patients, nursing staff, medical staff, other clinical and ancillary staff, and administration. This makes the role one of the most difficult and one of the most important in any healthcare setting. Despite the importance of the role, many new managers receive little, if any, formal preparation. While hospitals are starting to send nurse managers to formal educational programs, the new manager receives little benefit if they do not have help putting it into practice. Even when there is a preceptor, chances are that new managers are still not getting what they need. Preceptors have multiple demands on their time and little, if any, formal preceptor training. One hospital that has successfully tackled this issue is Bryn Mawr Hospital, a Main Line Health System Magnet-designated hospital in suburban Philadelphia. Bryn Mawr Hospital engaged an experienced nurse executive to coach new nurse managers for 4 months on site. While participants agree face-to-face coaching is the most important component of this program, they also say having a seasoned coach gives them the confidence to ask questions they would not have felt comfortable exploring otherwise.

Kirby Bates Associates, Inc, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania (Mss DeCampli and Kirby); and Bryn Mawr Hospital, Main Line Health System, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (Ms Baldwin).

Corresponding Author: Karen K. Kirby, MSN, RN, Kirby Bates Associates, Inc, One Bala Ave, Ste 234, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.