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Healthcare Succession Planning: An Integrative Review

Carriere, Brian K. MN, RN; Muise, Melanie BA, MA; Cummings, Greta PhD, RN; Newburn-Cook, Chris PhD, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: December 2009 - Volume 39 - Issue 12 - p 548-555
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181c18010

Succession planning is a business strategy that has recently gained attention in the healthcare literature, primarily because of nursing shortage concerns and the demand for retaining knowledgeable personnel to meet organizational needs. Little research has been conducted in healthcare settings that clearly defines best practices for succession planning frameworks. To effectively carry out such organizational strategies during these challenging times, an integrative review of succession planning in healthcare was performed to identify consistencies in theoretical approaches and strategies for chief nursing officers and healthcare managers to initiate. Selected articles were compared with business succession planning to determine whether healthcare strategies were similar to best practices already established in business contexts. The results of this integrative review will aid leaders and managers to use succession planning as a tool in their recruitment, retention, mentoring, and administration activities and also provide insights for future development of healthcare succession planning frameworks.

Authors' Affiliations: Captain (Mr Carriere), Canadian Forces, Edmonton, Alberta; PhD Candidate, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, and Research Assistant (Ms Muise); Associate Professor and Principal Investigator, CLEAR (Connecting Leadership Education and Research) Outcomes Research Program (Dr Cummings); Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Dr Newburn-Cook), Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Corresponding author: Dr Cummings, Faculty of Nursing, CSB 5-125, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G3 (

Funding: Dr Greta Cummings is supported by a New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and a Population Health Investigator award, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.