Theses Doctoral

Does Education Matter? Nurse Manager Leadership Style and Clinical Nurse Empowerment and Perceptions of Culture of Safety

Moorehead, Jeanmarie

Nurse managers are essential in providing safe and effective patient care. The nurse manager position is a professional role necessary for the overall success of a hospital, clinic, or home health agency. The national education minimum for the initial entry to practice for registered nurses in the United States varies from diploma-training school to collegiate education at Associate, Bachelor, and Masters levels. Other professional healthcare workers need a Doctoral degree upon entry into practice. Nurse managers who lead multidisciplinary teams of other professionals are not required to achieve higher academic credentials in the United States beyond the initial entry to practice minimum.

This study examined the relationships among nurse manager education levels, leadership style, and empowerment. It explored how the nurse managers' levels of education and empowerment correlate to the patient safety chain of transformational leadership that leads to a safety culture. Additionally, the variable Magnet designation was examined. The investigation was an observational one-sample study design (N = 142). An electronic survey was used to assess perceived leadership style, empowerment, and safety culture. Data were collected on professional social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Additionally, Nurse managers at the 2022 ANCC Magnet/Pathways Conference were approached to complete the online survey.

The investigation results suggest that education does not influence leadership style or empowerment; however, this study's findings suggest that nurse managers with an undergraduate degree are significantly more effective in their leadership abilities than nurse managers with graduate degrees (p =.036). In this investigation, Doctoral-prepared nurse managers were more likely to use a transactional form of leadership than Bachelor or Masters prepared nurse managers (p = .029). The participants' empowerment levels were lower than in similar nurse manager studies before 2020. This finding may be a post-pandemic symptom. Moreover, nurse managers who work in Magnet–designated facilities are more likely to perceive their work environment as safe (p = .006). Magnet status was additionally associated with nurse managers' ability to create success and influence their team (p = .037). The ANCC Magnet and Pathways Programs may blueprint an effective, safe nursing service.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Caroselli, Cynthia
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 7, 2023