Factors that influence the approach to leadership: directors of nursing working in rural health services

Authors

  • Melanie Bish RN, BN(Hons), BCN, MN,

    PhD Candidate, Corresponding author
    1. La Trobe Rural Health School, Bendigo Campus, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
    • Correspondence

      Melanie Bish

      La Trobe Rural Health School

      La Trobe University

      PO Box 199

      Bendigo

      Victoria 3552

      Australia

      E-mail: m.bish@latrobe.edu.au

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  • Amanda Kenny RN midwife, BN, Grad Cert Higher Ed, Post Grad Dip mid, MN, PhD,

    Associate Professor
    1. La Trobe Rural Health School, Bendigo Campus, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
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  • Rhonda Nay RN, BA, FRCNA, FCN, PhD

    Professor
    1. Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

Aim

To identify factors that influence directors of nursing in their approach to leadership when working in rural Victoria, Australia.

Background

In rural areas, nurses account for the largest component of the health workforce and must be equipped with leadership knowledge and skills to lead reform at a service level.

Method

A qualitative descriptive design was used. In-depth semi-structured interviews were undertaken with directors of nursing from rural Victoria. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and a thematic network was developed.

Results

Empowerment emerged as the highest order category in the thematic network. This was derived from three organising themes: influence, capital and contextual understanding and the respective basic themes: formal power, informal power, self-knowledge; information, support, resources; and situational factors, career trajectory, connectedness.

Conclusion

Rural nurse leaders contend with several issues that influence their approach to leadership. This study provides a platform for further research to foster nurse leadership in rural healthcare services.

Implications for nursing management

Acknowledgement of what influences the rural nurse leaders' approach to leadership may assist in the implementation of initiatives designed to develop leadership in a manner that is contextually sensitive.

Ancillary