Perceptions of the impact of introducing administrative support for nurse unit managers: A qualitative evaluation

May El Haddad, Graham Wilkinson, Lorraine Thompson, Annette Faithfull-Byrne, Cheryle Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To evaluate the impacts of introducing administrative support for nurse unit managers. Background: Increased administrative load for nurse unit managers causes role stress and reduced opportunities for clinical leadership (state-wide review, Queensland, Australia). In response, a health organisation implemented a clerical ‘Nurse Unit Manager Support Officer’ position. Methods: Qualitative descriptive evaluation, convenience sample (37 nurse unit managers and NUM Support Officers) and focus groups (13) provided data that were thematically analysed. Results: Six impacts were identified: (a) improved nurse unit manager well-being; (b) more time to undertake clinical leadership; (c) greater efficiencies in finance, payroll and HR processes; (d) improved capacity for strategic leadership; (e) increased staff satisfaction and improved unit culture; and (f) improved succession planning. Conclusion: Findings reveal significant gains and benefits from the introduction of administrative support for the nurse unit manager role for the nurse unit manager and the units they manage. Implications for Nursing Management: Nurse unit manager role stress can negatively impact organisational climate, performance outcomes, staff satisfaction and retention. Health organisations need to implement strategies to reduce the administrative burden for nurse unit managers. The introduction of administrative support frees up time for nurse unit managers to engage in clinical leadership, positively impacting organisational climate, performance outcomes, and staff satisfaction and retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1700-1711
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • administrative burden
  • administrative support
  • clinical leadership
  • management
  • nurse manager
  • nurse unit manager

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