Exploring senior nurses' experiences of leading organizational change

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to explore Senior nurses’ experiences of leading organizational change. There is a substantial literature reporting middle-level nurse managers’ experiences of change; however, there is less evidence concerning senior nurses’ perspectives. In view of this, interview data collected from senior nurses, as part of a study of major organizational change, were analysed to redress this imbalance.
Design/methodology/approach – In-depth semi-structured interviews (n 14) were conducted with senior nurses (between 2009 and 2012).
Findings – Senior nurses’ activity centred on leadership and workforce issues, internal influences and external pressures. In periods of change, appropriate leadership was vital, and “weak” leaders were considered to have an adverse effect on teams. Concerns were expressed about financial strictures and their impact on patient care and service provision. The senior nurses were striving to provide the best quality of service delivery with the limited resources available. Concentration on operational matters was necessary to maintain stability in periods of change. However, this prevented senior nurses from influencing strategic decision-making in their organizations.
Practical implications – If senior nurses are to realise their potential to operate at a strategic level, they need to be given time and support to lead, rather than just react to change. This research emphasises the importance of a “nursing voice” to inform board-level decisions and maintain a focus on patient care.
Originality/value – This research sheds light on the work of a key group of staff in health-care organizations. Understanding senior nurses’ experience of and contribution to change is a useful contribution to health services research.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-51
JournalLeadership in Health Services
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016