Nurse Educator Leadership Competencies: Instrument Development and Testing

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 4:00 PM

Barbara J. Patterson, PhD, RN, ANEF1
Anne Marie Krouse, PhD, MSN, MBA, BSN, RN-BC2
Karen H. Morin, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN3
Mohammed Almaskari, MSN, RN1
(1)School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA
(2)Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA
(3)College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Leadership is an essential element of the role of the nurse educator.  Many nurse faculty leaders find themselves in adminstrative positions in higher education with insufficient leadership education and/or experience.  Leadership succession planning in nursing education is often overlooked.  This is of great concern in nursing education because leadership in academia has been associated with organizational outcomes, faculty satisfaction, and a healthy work environment.  Organizational success is dependent upon the competency of its leaders. The development of nurse faculty who have the leadership skills that are essential to take on these challenging roles is critical.  This study builds upon two previous studies conducted by the authors examining the leadership competencies of nurse educators and to develop an instrument to measure these leadership competencies.

The Competencies for Leaders in Nursing Education Instrument (CLNEI) was developed based on four competencies and task statements that emerged from a qualitative study with nurse educator leaders and a follow-up national Delphi study to confirm the results.  The four core competencies are: Articulate and promote a vision for nursing education, Function as a steward for the organization and nursing education, Embrace professional values in context of higher education, and Develop and nurture relationships.  The data were used to create the items and subscales of a self-report instrument to assess leadership competencies in nurse educators.  The 24-item instrument uses a 7-point Likert scale rating the frequency (never to every time) in which the nurse educator perceives he/she engages in the leadership activity.  Therefore, the purposes of this descriptive study were to describe the leadership competencies of nurse educators in academia and to establish psychometrics for a newly developed instrument.

All participants were nursing faculty members teaching in programs in a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) member school of nursing, and were recruited using proportionate random sampling of schools from the nine US regions determined by the US Census Bureau (N = 84 nursing schools).  An email was sent to all potential participants from the schools (n = 2400) via Survey Monkey® from the study investigators.  

All data were downloaded to SPSS.  Demographic data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.  Psychometric evaluation of the instrument was conducted to determine reliability and validity including determination of Cronbach alpha coefficients for the instrument overall and subscales, as well as confirmatory factor analysis.  Qualitative comments from the findings were analyzed using in-vivo coding and analysis for similarities among participants.  Findings and demographics of the sample will be presented.

Nurse educators are challenged to become leaders, using innovation and creativity to create a more efficient and effective learning environment for students.  As members of the academic community, they must become leaders in university governance to proactively address increasing regulation in higher education and threats to academic freedom.  This study contributes an instrument for the science of nursing education that can be used to assess leadership in nurse educators.  It may be used in in conjunction with leadership development programs for nurse educators to identify areas for development or to assess program outcomes.  It may also be used to evaluate relationships between leadership competencies and organizational outcomes in higher education.  The findings of this study contribute to best practices for leadership in nursing education.