• leadership capabilities;
  • management capabilities;
  • master‘s degree;
  • nurse education

drennan j. (2012) Journal of Nursing Management20, 102–112 Masters in nursing degrees: an evaluation of management and leadership outcomes using a retrospective pre-test design

Aim  The aim of the present study was to measure the leadership and management abilities of graduates who had completed a master’s degree in nursing.

Background  A number of reports have recommended that leadership competencies be integrated into education programmes for nurses at a master’s level. In spite of the growth in the number of graduates from higher degrees in nursing, there is a paucity of evidence on the management and leadership outcomes that develop as a result of undertaking a master’s degree.

Methods  A cross-sectional survey using a retrospective pre-test design was used to measure self-reported leadership and management outcomes from the graduates’ educational programmes.

Results  Results found that graduates had gained significantly on their ability to change practice, communicate and work as part of a team and to problem solve as an outcome of completing a master’s degree in nursing.

Conclusion  Graduates make substantial gains in leadership and management capabilities as a consequence of their higher degree. These capabilities are necessary as nurses take the lead in many areas of healthcare.

Implications for nursing management  The masters in nursing degree now has a pivotal role in providing effective continuing education to the nursing profession; especially for those who occupy or intend to occupy senior positions within clinical, management or education branches of the profession.