The purpose of the study was to explore the extent to which student nurses use transformational leadership skills before and after taking a course in leadership and management.
The sample was a convenient non-randomized sample of 29 senior student nurses (BSN students) enrolled in a three-unit accelerated semester leadership and management course at a North Carolina university. The Student version of the LPI was completed at the beginning and end of the course. The typical respondent was female (96%), Caucasian (72%), and under 25 years of age (64%). Internal reliability coefficients in this study were .60 Model, .80 Inspire, .76 Challenge, .67 Enable, and .75 Encourage.
The average scores significantly increased (p < .05) on four of the leadership practices from the pre-test administration and post-test administration of the Student LPI (Inspire, Challenge, Enable, and Encourage, while engagement in the leadership practice of Model remained relatively the same. The author describes this “an 80% increase in leadership skill level” (p. 66); although notes that “the improvement was moderate as shown by the medium effect size (d values)” (p. 70). An examination of the students’ responses to the individual behavioral statements showed that there was a statistical significant improvement in seven of the 30 behaviors (23.3%).
The study did not find that the student’s race had any effect on leadership skills; with comparisons between scores of Caucasian (non-minority) and minority students (Asian-American, African-American, and Hispanic-Americans combined) showing no statistically significant differences.
The author concludes: “Leadership is now crucial in the life of a nurse in practice because leadership is expected and required at every level of nursing. Thus, it is important for nursing programs and leaders to know how well leadership and management courses as taught currently, prepare graduates for clinical practice, and the extent to which such courses prepare students for the transformational leadership role” (p. 78). Moreover, she argues that “Based on the findings in the study, one course on leadership and management does not adequately inculcate all the tenets of transformational leadership skills required for practice at the Magnet hospitals. Nurse education leaders need to revamp the nursing curriculum so that transformational leadership skills are interwoven into the fabric of the student’s academic experience. Faculty members need to engage in continuing education training in transformational leadership so that they can lead by example” (p. 80).