Nursing Leadership Development in the Cultural Context of Malta

Sunday, 22 July 2018: 8:30 AM

Robie Hughes, DSN, RN, CNS
School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
Rebecca Wright, PhD, BSc (Hons), RN
Community and Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore,, MD, USA
Maria Cassar, PhD, MSc, RN
Department of Nursing, University of Malta, Msida, Malta

In studying social phenomena, such as leadership, the setting in which leadership is practiced should always be considered (Alvesson and Sveningsson, 2003). This study seeks to understand the cultural impact on the leadership development of nurses within the Maltese culture. Malta is an island country comprised of five small islands located within the central Mediterranean Sea with a population around 440,000 residents. Malta has been ruled by outside powers for centuries. Malta received independence from Great Britain in 1974. Many of the nurses in Malta trained within British institutions, but Malta is now educating and developing nursing practice within its own cultural context. The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand nursing leadership and nursing leadership development within the cultural context of Malta. Six nurse leaders from administration, advanced nursing practice and academic backgrounds participated in a semi-structured interview. The characteristics, challenges and success of the nurse leader experiences are analyzed by three researchers independently to identify themes within the context of Authentic Leadership Theory. This theory has been identified as important in responding to the increasing need for ‘strong and positive nursing leadership’ (Wong & Cummings, 2009) to manage a multitude of challenging in an increasingly globalized context (Wong & Cummings, 2009). Authentic leadership has been found to enhance nurse thriving (Mortier, et al, 2016), to improve nurse engagement (Bamford, Wong, & Laschinger, 2013), and to increase nurse, positive perceptions of safety climate (Dirk & Intepeler, 2017). In addition, authentic nurse leadership has demonstrated benefits to motivate nurse creativity (Malik, Dhar, & Handa, 2016), to decrease nurse workplace bullying (Laschinger, Wong, & Grau, 2012; Laschinger & Read, 2016), and to produce a positive effect on nurse to job fit (Bamford, Wong, & Laschinger, 2013; Laschinger & Read, 2016). The final identified themes resulted from a discussion and comparison of individual analysis which resulted in an agreement from all three researchers. The identified themes include competencies and qualities of leaders, know thyself, challenges to and in leadership, training issues, role models, feedback, acceptance for developing role of nurses, nurses as equals, influence from relationships with other countries, participatory approaches to leadership, the impact of change and the Maltese culture. The study begins the early stage to differentiate between cultural leadership influence and global leadership competencies. Findings from the qualitative study support previous research findings on effective nursing leadership, but also add new perspectives to consider regarding cultural competency.