Aims To determine the importance of strategy in nursing management and to establish if strategic management has entered the lexicon of nurses’ vocabulary.
Background Developing and managing strategy is a critical success factor for health care managers. It remains unclear if nurse managers view strategy development as their role.
Methods A review of scholarly International nursing and management literature, available through CINAHL and PUBMED Data Bases was undertaken. The titles of 1063 articles, published between 1997 and 2007 were examined in order to determine the profile of strategy in those titles. Documentary analysis was undertaken on a random sample of 250 of those articles and on the full text of a further 100.
Results Less than 10% of journal titles contained the word strategy. What was presented as strategy was in the majority of cases describing policy, administration or management. Little formal strategy theory was evident.
Conclusion The nursing profession does not appear to have adopted the terms strategy or strategic management to any great extent.
Implications for nursing management Nurse Managers could play a greater role in enhancing healthcare delivery if an understanding of, and acceptance of the importance of strategy in health care delivery was promoted.