• nursing education reform;
  • nursing leadership;
  • effectiveness;
  • Hong Kong

Background.  Nursing education in Hong Kong has undergone major reform in recent years, similar to that in Australia and the United Kingdom (UK), involving the introduction of degree level preparation. Although there were some changes in the nursing education system, the reform was considered slow. While a combination of complex factors contributed to the reform, the effects of nurse leaders was instrumental in influencing policy development.

Aim.  This study investigated the factors that influenced the effectiveness of nursing leadership in the reform of nursing education in Hong Kong.

Design.  A case study approach was used. Methods of data collection included document search and semi-structured interviews (n = 27). The time frame of the study extended from the first proposal of nursing degree programme in the year 1985 to 2000 by which 200 nursing degree places were secured.

Results.  Situational variables that impacted on leadership effectiveness were categorized as barriers and facilitators. Barriers were related to nursing professional socialization in a health care system that was dominated by the medical profession. Facilitators were related to socio-politic-economical changes in the wider environment.

Conclusion.  This study suggests the importance of education, positive socialization and unity in promoting nursing leadership development.