Manager, clinician or both? Nurse managers' engagement in clinical care activities
Journal of Nursing Management
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
AIM: To explore the extent of Australian nurse managers' engagement in clinical care activities.
BACKGROUND: Hybrid nurse manager roles lack clarity in the optimal balance between the clinical and other activities, resulting in stress and challenges in recruiting and retaining nurse managers.
METHODS: In a national survey using the Advanced Practice Role Delineation tool, Australian nurses self-assessed their level of engagement in activities across five domains of nursing practice. The subset sample analysed comprised 2,758 registered nurses, 390 clinical (front-line) nurse managers and 43 organisational (middle) nurse managers. Median domain scores were compared with non-parametric tests of difference.
RESULTS: Clinical nurse managers were in a hybrid role, reporting high levels of engagement across the domains. Lower scores observed for organisational nurse managers highlight the shift to strategy-focussed activities that occurs as nurses up the management hierarchy.
CONCLUSIONS: By indicating their engagement in the clinical care domain, respondents demonstrated that clinically focused activities were not entirely lost from either front-line or middle-management roles.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: Nurse managers equipped with clinical and management skills, and allowed time to remain engage in clinical care activities are critical for patient-centred and cost-effective care in today's complex health care environments.