Does Transformational Leadership of Nurse Managers Change Over Time?: A Longitudinal Study

Friday, 28 July 2017

Tarja Kvist, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN
Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen, PhD, LicHC, MSc, RN, RM
Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kuopio, Finland


The purpose of thís study was find out the differences in nurse managers’ transformational leadership perceived by the nurses between years 2008, 2010 and 2013 and examine the relationship between nurse managers’ transformational leadership and study years and nurses’ background variables.

Transformational leadership has been a paradigm of nursing leadership for over 20 years. According to the previous studies transformational nurse managers have characteristics like visible, visionary, innovative, accessible, supportive, and knowledgeable. In recent years especially Magnet Hospital studies has recognized the special importance of transformational leadership as a one component of Magnet Model (Borman & Abrahamson 2014, Kvist et al. 2013, Sanders et al. 2013). The study hospital had leadership development work according to Magnet principles and in addition it went through organizational changes between years 2008 and 2013.


Perceptions of nurses in a Finnish university hospital were surveyed longitudinally in years 2008, 2010 and 2013 using a web-based version of the Transformational Leadership Scale (TLS) questionnaire (Eneh et al. 2012, Kvist et al. 2013). TLS questionnaire has 43 items of nurse manager’s transformational leadership and ten background questions. In total 1053 nurses responded. Differences in transformational leadership subscale scores between years were tested with one-way analysis of variance, and relations between background variables and subscales were analyzed by analysis of covariance.


Transformational leadership scores were highest in 2010 and lowest in 2013. The subscale scored most highly was support for professional development, while giving feedback and rewarding received the lowest score. In 2008 and 2010 day workers rated all subscales of transformational leadership more highly than shift workers, but the opposite patterns were detected in 2013, except for support for professional development. The importance of development work and changes will be highlighed with the results.


Nurse managers need systematic leadership and support programs to develop their transformational leadership skills. It is important to strengthen nurse leaders’ visibility through systematic, longitudinal interventions to enhance Magnet Hospital endeavor.