Leading Nurses: Leadership Education in Long term Care

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 11:00 AM

Barbara J. Patterson, PhD, RN, ANEF
School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA
Anne Marie Krouse, PhD, MBA, RN-BC
Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA
Beryl D. Goldman, PhD, RN, NHA
Worth Center, Kendal Outreach LLC, Kennett Square, PA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify personal and organizational outcomes for nurse leaders in long-term care facilities.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the benefits of leadership training for nurse leaders in long-term care facilities.

Background. To improve the quality of care provided in nursing homes, facilities require strong leadership by directors of nursing and other registered nurse leaders.  A 3-year funded program, ‘Leading Nurses’, was implemented to provide leadership training to nurse leaders in long term care facilities.  The program focused on skills development in emotional intelligence, leadership, change management, and evidence-based practice protocols. 

Purpose.  The purpose of this research study was to examine the impact of an emotional competence and leadership skills educational program for directors of nursing/ registered nurses in nursing homes on perceptions of work environment and leadership ability.

Methods. The research design was qualitative description.  Focus groups were conducted during the first year and at the end of the 3rd year of the program.  The focus group interviews lasting 60 minutes were audio taped and transcribed.  Data were analyzed for common themes and patterns.

Results. Eleven nurses participated in the focus groups.  The majority held an associate’s degree in nursing.  The nurses’ mean age was 54 years with a range of 3 to 16 years supervisory experience.  Both organizational and personal outcomes emerged.  At the end of the first year, a common theme was increasing self-confidence with the implementation of change and decision-making.  They recognized that leadership is a ‘we’.  At year 3, most of the challenges remained; however, they had grown in their ability to manage and lead the staff in protocol implementation.

Conclusion.  The goal of ‘Leading Nurses’ was to improve the care of approximately 3,750 nursing home residents through new skill sets and evidence-based protocols learned and implemented by the nursing leaders.  By training RN leaders in nursing homes they will in turn provide better support to the direct-service nurses and healthcare workforce that will result in improved care of nursing home residents.