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Exploring the Lived Experiences of Staff Nurses Transitioning to the Nurse Manager Role

Pilat, Melissa MS, RN; Merriam, Deborah H. DNS, RN, CNE

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: October 2019 - Volume 49 - Issue 10 - p 509–513
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000795

OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to discover the experience of nurse managers (NMs) who had transitioned from a staff nurse position

BACKGROUND Nurses who become NMs may receive little or no training or support during the transition process. This study sought to gain the perspective of NMs who transitioned into the role.

METHODS A phenomenology method was used to interview 10 NMs regarding their experience of transitioning into the NM role. Meleis Role Transition theory provided the theoretical framework.

RESULTS Five themes were identified that related to the research questions: expectations, essential knowledge and skills, graduate education prepared, sought support and mentoring from colleagues, and role mastery not possible. Participants experienced role insufficiency due to lack of support and resources.

CONCLUSIONS Further research is needed to understand nurses' experience after completing an NM developmental program, contributing to role mastery.

Author Affiliation: Nurse Manager (Ms Pilat), Surgical Services, Sentara, Leigh Hospital, Norfolk, Virginia; Associate Professor (Dr Merriam), Daemen College, Amherst, New York.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Ms Pilat, Nurse Manager Surgical Services, Sentara, Leigh Hospital, 830 Kempsville Road, Norfolk, VA, 23502 (

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