Nurse educators are coordinators of programmes, disciplines, subjects and projects in the institutions and are recognized as very strong role models who can easily foster the leadership development of student nurses (Halstead, 2013:4). However, leadership experts such as Neck and Manz (2007:2) indicate that one cannot be expected to lead others effectively if they are unable to lead ‘the self’ effectively. The challenges that nurse educators meet during teaching and learning require nurse educators who are creative, innovative, resilient and self-leaders. Individuals with self-leadership have high degrees of internal motivation, that is, they have the internal drive to expect more of themselves and persist through difficulties until they achieve their goals (Watson, 2006:460).Although nurse educators are expected to be role models and leaders who promote the professional development of student nurses and peers, there are instances where they fail to display the expected self-leadership attributes.The question that arose therefore was:
What can be done to facilitate self-leadership within nurse educators in nursing education institutions?
The purpose of the study is to understand the self-leadership within nurse educators in order to develop guidelines that could facilitate nurse educator self-leadership
Methods: The study employed an exploratory, descriptive sequential mixed-method design to answer the above question. The study has three (3) phases. Phase 1 consists of two sub-phases. This oral presentation reports on Phase 1, sub-phase 2, the qualitative phase that explores and describes the perceptions of nurse educators with regard to their self-leadership and how this can be facilitated in a nursing education institution.
The population for the qualitative phase was nurse educators teaching at a selected private nursing school, a public nursing college and a university in the Gauteng Province in South Africa. Focus group interviews were held with participants using a semi-structured interview guide. The questions guiding the semi-structured interviews were:
- Can you please describe how you perceive your self-leadership?
- What are the self-leadership activities that you engage in as a nurse educator?
- How can the self-leadership in nurse educators be facilitated in a nursing education institution?
Data obtained from the semi-structured focus group interviews was analysed by the researcher and an independent co-coder using Tesch’s protocol (Creswell, 2014:186).
Results: The themes that emerged from the qualitative phase were related to benefits of self-leadership practices, obstacles of self-leadership and factors that facilitate self-leadership within a nursing education context.
Conclusion: The data obtained in this sub-phase will be integrated into the quantitative phase to eventually address the research questions of the study.