Developing Nursing Leaders

An Overview of Trends and Programs

A continued investment in nursing leadership development across all levels—executives, managers and front-line staff—is necessary in an increasingly complex and demanding workplace. This article explores various leadership trends and development programs for nurses at all levels. The authors collected two types of data; a telephone survey of 27 health care leaders and a written survey of 54 chief nursing leaders were conducted to evaluate differences in perceptions of leadership needs. Additionally, an environmental scan of leadership and management development programs occurred. This produced 42 programs selected for more extensive review based on name recognition, reputation for quality and length of time the program was offered.

  • Quality and applicability to the challenges their leaders face are the primary concerns of field decision-makers.
  • More than 60 percent of the leadership and professional development programs for nurses target primarily those working in the inpatient setting.
  • 50 percent of scanned programs are aimed at executive level nurses. An additional 26 percent are designed for midlevel nurses. These numbers support the perceived shortage of programs for front-line workers.

As the health care system confronts the need to change and adapt in the new century, leadership is required throughout the entire organization. These authors argue that the nursing progression is best situated to take on the challenge.