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The Relationship of Training and Education to Leadership Practices in Frontline Nurse Leaders

Kelly, Lesly A. PhD, RN; Wicker, Teri L. PhD, RN; Gerkin, Richard D. MD, MS

Journal of Nursing Administration: March 2014 - Volume 44 - Issue 3 - p 158–163
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000044

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.

Author Affiliations: RN Clinical Research Program Director, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, and Assistant Research Professor (Dr Kelly), Arizona State University, Phoenix; Medical Director of Graduate Medical Education, Research Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine (Dr Gerkin), Department of Internal Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix; Professional Practice Director (Dr Wicker), Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, Arizona.

This research was funded by a grant from the American Organization of Nurse Executives Research Foundation.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Kelly, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, 1111 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006 (

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins