X.H.TAN1, J.L.S. TAY1, W. WANG1, C.L. POH1, Y. KOWITLAWAKUL2
Woodlands Health1, National University of Singapore2
Nurses’ stressful transition into leadership roles have been well-documented in the literature. The shortage of nurses calls for the need to enhance nursing leadership through understanding emerging leaders’ perceptions toward their roles. This study aimed to explore the experiences and perceptions of emerging nursing leaders toward their own leadership roles, and to identify the challenges and barriers they faced.
An exploratory descriptive qualitative study design using semi-structured questions with individual face-to-face interviews was adopted. A purposive sample of 18 registered nurses was recruited. Interviews were audio-recorded and verbatim was transcribed. Data was analysed using thematic analysis.
Six themes emerged, namely: (1) multiple responsibilities, (2) characteristics of effective leadership, (3) adapting to new roles, (4) supportive system, (5) professional development, and (6) barriers and challenges. The emerging nursing leaders held various responsibilities as advocates and mentors. The results also pointed towards positive leadership forms as the preferred leadership styles of emerging leaders. The transition into higher level leadership roles was a dynamic process in which the emerging leaders underwent professional development and experienced various barriers and challenges despite receiving organizational and social support.
The findings suggest a need to examine the emerging nursing leaders’ roles to better manage their workload and empower them. Existing leadership development policies also presented gaps which should be addressed to better tailor to the needs of the emerging leaders. Training resources and support should also be made readily accessible.