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The Role of Incentives in Nurses’ Aspirations to Management Roles

Wong, Carol A. PhD, RN; Spence Laschinger, Heather K. PhD, RN, FAAN; Cziraki, Karen MSc, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: June 2014 - Volume 44 - Issue 6 - p 362–367
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000082

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe findings from a study examining nurses’ perceptions of incentives for pursuing management roles.

BACKGROUND: Upcoming retirements of nurse managers and a reported lack of interest in manager roles signal concerns about a leadership shortage. However, there is limited research on nurses’ career aspirations and specifically the effect of perceived incentives for pursuing manager roles.

METHODS: Data from a national, cross-sectional survey of Canadian nurses were analyzed (n = 1241) using multiple regression to measure the effect of incentives on nurses’ career aspirations.

RESULTS: Twenty-four percent of nurses expressed interest in pursuing management roles. Age, education, and incentives explained 43% of the variance in career aspirations. Intrinsically oriented incentives such as new challenges, autonomy, and the opportunity to influence others were the strongest predictors of aspirations to management roles.

CONCLUSIONS: Ensuring an adequate supply of nurse managers will require proactive investment in the identification, recruitment, and development of nurses with leadership potential.

Author Affiliations: Associate Professor (Dr Wong), Faculty of Health Sciences; Distinguished University Professor and Research Chair in Human Resource Optimization (Dr Laschinger); and Doctoral Student (Ms Cziraki), Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Sources of funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research—Partnerships for Health System Improvements, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, Health Canada: Office of Nursing Policy, Capital Health District, London Health Sciences Centre, McGill University Health Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, Providence Care, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, St Joseph’s Health Care, Victorian Order of Nurses.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Wong, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Room H27, Health Sciences Addition, The University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St, London, ON, Canada N6A 5C1 (

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins