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Describing Nurse Manager Role Preparation and Competency

Findings From a National Study

Warshawsky, Nora PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Cramer, Emily PhD

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2019 - Volume 49 - Issue 5 - p 249–255
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000746

OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to describe the role preparation and competency development of nurse managers.

BACKGROUND Approximately 70 000 nurses are retiring annually. This represents a significant loss of nursing leadership wisdom. Few systematic studies of nurse manager role preparation and competency development have been conducted.

METHODS An electronic survey was completed by a national sample of 647 nurse managers managing 964 patient care units in 54 hospitals.

RESULTS Findings suggest that nurse managers rate themselves as competent for the 1st 6 years as a nurse manager. They begin to reach proficiency by year 7. Experience had the strongest association with nurse manager competence, followed by graduate leadership education.

CONCLUSIONS Nurse executives need to evaluate the bench strength of their nursing leadership talent pool. They need to develop policies and strategies that promote nurse manager competence.

Authors Affiliations: Professor (Dr Warshawsky), University of Central Florida, College of Nursing, Orlando; Associate Professor (Dr Cramer), University of Kansas School of Nursing.

This study was funded by VCAN (Versant Center for the Advancement of Nursing). The findings do not necessarily represent the views of VCAN.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Warshawsky, 12201 Research Pkwy, UT 473, Orlando, FL 32826 (

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.