The experiences of nurse managers navigating between two conceptual models of leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Philosophy at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
The Nurse Manager (NM) is critical in ensuring quality nursing care and health service delivery. However, the restructuring of organisations has dramatically altered the function, accountability, and responsibilities of the NM role. The NM is expected to juggle budgetary and managerial responsibilities whilst effectively leading nurses. The added complexity of the role requires the NM to navigate between two conceptual models: the Professional Practice Model (PPM) of nursing leadership and the Generic Management Model (GMM) of leadership. This can lead to a conflict of personal values, undermining role effectiveness in this key senior nursing position. There is a large body of international research about the complexity, ambiguity, and dual role of the NM role, but limited qualitative research exists exploring the dual role of the NM role in the New Zealand context. The aim of this qualitative, descriptive research was to explore the challenges that the NM experiences when trying to navigate between the PPM and the GMM. The purpose of undertaking this research was twofold: to inform the ongoing evolution of the NM role and provide a deeper understanding of the challenges that New Zealand NMs experience. Five NMs within a New Zealand hospital were surveyed. Data were analysed using a general inductive approach. Four main themes—role confusion, level of expectation, support, and professional development—emerged. Findings suggest that participants perceived their role to be predominantly generic management, but felt that clinical expertise, relational processes, and soft skills were the most important capabilities of the NM role. This suggests that the participants in this study favour and support the PPM rather than the GMM. This small study highlighted the need for further analysis of the professional development and preparation requirements attached to the NM role in order better navigate the PPM and GMM. Recommendations include the need for succession planning and postgraduate education.