The challenges acute care nurse unit managers face and the strategies they use to address them: Perceptions of directors of nursing and nurse unit managers

Cadeyrn J. Gaskin, Cherene M. Ockerby, Tammy Smith, Vibeke Russell, Beverley O'Connell

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the challenges that nurse unit managers (NUMs) face while working in acute care settings, the strategies they use to deal with these challenges, and the effectiveness of these strategies from the perspectives of NUMs and their supervisors. NUMs (N = 22) and directors of nursing (N = 3) were interviewed for this study. Thematic analysis revealed 14 challenges relating primarily to NUMs interactions with others, both within and
outside of their wards/units. These challenges related to the managerial, but not clinical, aspects of their roles; 16 strategies for managing these challenges were identifi ed, the effectiveness of which seemed dependent on how well they were executed.
The strategies are: seeking assistance and support; trial and error; satisfi cing; taking responsibility for own professional development; scheduling of time; working longer hours; delegation; adaptive staffing and rostering; being a visible presence on the ward; team development; facilitating professional development for staff; being available for staff; negotiation and collaboration; communication; working with the processes of a large organisation; and complying with the demands of others, The fi ndings make a strong case for NUMs to be supported in undertaking comprehensive management education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-640
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Management and Organization
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

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