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An Examination of Transformational Leadership Among Graduating Baccalaureate Nursing Students and Practicing Nurses

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TITLE An Examination of Transformational Leadership Among Graduating Baccalaureate Nursing Students and Practicing Nurses
 
RESEARCHER(S) Lizy Mathew
School of Advanced Studies
University of Phoenix
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: March 2008

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this quantitative comparative study was to examine transformational leadership qualities of baccalaureate prepared graduating nursing students through various programs such as generic, RN-BSN, and accelerated, as well as practicing nurses.

METHODOLOGY
The study was conducted among graduating BSN students from five nursing schools and practicing nurses from several acute care facilities and conference locations in the northeastern and middle part of New Jersey. One hundred thirty seven generic, 45 RN-BSN, and 29 accelerated graduating students participated in the study. One hundred forty five practicing nurses from three acute care facilities and several conference locations also participated in the study. The typical student respondent was female (89%) and 29 years old. The typical practicing nurse respondent was female (92%), 44.6 years of age, with a BSN (70%), more than five years of work experience (85%) and half held a leadership position within nursing. Each survey participant completed the Leadership Practices Inventory- Self and a demographic questionnaire.

KEY FINDINGS
Significant differences were found between groups on Modeling, Inspiring, Enabling and Encouraging but not for Challenging. In terms of demographic variables, when all participants were included in a regression analysis, only age was a significant predictor of Modeling and Inspiring. However, the amount of variance explained by age was minimal. There were no significant relationships between any leadership variables and demographic variables for practicing nurses or nursing students. The results of the MANOVA indicated no significant differences by group when age was held constant. Regression analyses were conducted for the nurses in clinical practice to determine if years of experience, level of education, and leadership position were significantly related to leadership skills. The results indicated that there were no significant relationships between leadership skills and years of experience, level of education, and leadership position of nurses in clinical practice.

The author concludes: "The results of this research indicated differences in transformational leadership components among graduating baccalaureate students and practicing nurses, with practicing nurses scoring higher compared to students from generic and accelerated nursing programs. The results of the research suggest that differences exist between students graduating from baccalaureate nursing programs and nurses in clinical practice in respect to certain transformational leadership components based on Kouzes and Posner's (2003) leadership instrument" (pp. 98-99). "The graduating students from RN-BSN programs also scored high in three of the transformational leadership components compared to students from generic and accelerated programs. It is important to note that RN-BSN students are also nurses in clinical practice. Increased leadership training among nursing students in the accelerated and generic programs may address the lower transformational leadership skills. Entry-level nurses are crucial in healthcare delivery. Superior leadership skills among these nurses can have positive effects on patient outcomes" (p. 99).

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