Internationally Educated Nurses' Experiences of Holding Management Positions in United States Healthcare Organizations

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 4:35 PM

Lilian Allen, PhD
Chamberlain College of Nursing, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Background: Although internationally educated nurses are an integral part of the U.S. health care industry, few work in managerial roles. Little is known about the experiences of internationally educated nurses who do obtain management positions.
  • Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of internationally educated nurses in management positions in U.S. health care organizations to obtain a better understanding of the obstacles and support these individuals experience when pursuing and working in managerial roles.
  • Design: The qualitative approach of descriptive phenomenology was used to conduct the study.
  • Setting: Health care organizations in the Chicago, Illinois, area.
  • Participants: Participation was open to individuals who had received their initial registered nurse license from countries other than the United States, who had at least 1 year of experience as a manager in a health care organization in the Chicago area, and who were 30–65 years old. Participants were recruited through flyers, snowball, and word of mouth. Seven individuals who volunteered to participate met the participation criteria and completed interviews.
  • Methods: Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire and one-on-one, semistructured interviews with open-ended questions. The interview responses were analyzed using Colaizzi’s seven-step phenomenological method.
  • Results: Six major themes and six subthemes emerged through the analysis process: (1) supervisors played an important role in the participants’ acceptance of management positions, (2) the participants experienced a variety of challenges regarding their responsibilities as managers, (3) cultural differences created challenges for the participants, (4) language and communication made their jobs more difficult, (5) the participants had positive working relationships with staff members and supervisors, and (6) the participants had many opportunities for education and professional growth.
  • Conclusions: This study provides insight on how internationally educated nurses obtain management positions, as well as the challenges and support these individuals receive after obtaining the positions. The results suggest that more internationally educated nurses may obtain managerial positions if they receive encouragement and support from supervisors and if they participate in organization committees. Though they face challenges related to their work responsibilities, cultural differences, and communication, internationally educated nurses are able to be successful in their management roles through developing strategies to overcome the challenges and through receiving support from staff, colleagues, and supervisors.