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The roles of the first-line nurse manager: perceptions from four perspectives


Bernice Skytt
Centre for Research & Development
Uppsala University/County Council of Gävleborg
801 88 Gävle, Sweden


Aim  To study the perception of the first-line nurse managers (FLNMs), registered nurses (RNs), assistant nurses (ANs) and head of departments (HDs) on the FLNM's current and desired roles.

Background  In the process of decentralization, the role of FLNM has changed from having overall responsibility for patients to having responsibility for the management of the ward.

Method  Interviews with five FLNMs, five RNs, five ANs, and one HD were used. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the transcribed text.

Results  When describing the current roles, the FLNMs, RNs and ANs focused on the coordination of activities that contributed to a well-functioning service and care of patients as well as on the recruitment of, support to and development of the personnel. The HD focused on the FLNM's responsibilities towards the personnel, especially regarding empowerment and staff well-being. When describing desired roles, the FLNMs, RNs and ANs emphasized service on the ward while the HD underlined the development of services and co-operation with other nurse managers.

Conclusion  The perception of the current and desired roles of the FLNM varied among the groups. The FLNMs, RNs and ANs reported a similar understanding which in turn differed from that of the HD who described fewer roles and focused on other areas.