Valuing nurse and midwifery unit managers’ voices: a qualitative approach

Nagle, Cate, Omonaiye, Olumuyiwa, and Bennett, Paul N. (2021) Valuing nurse and midwifery unit managers’ voices: a qualitative approach. BMC Nursing, 20. 160.

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Background: Nurse and Midwifery Unit Managers (NMUMs) play pivotal roles in quality patient care, nurse and midwife satisfaction and retention. NMUMs are expected to be both leaders and managers simultaneously, which may create role tension. This study aimed to explore the understanding and experience of NMUMs regarding their role; to explore what barriers and facilitators NMUMs identified to achieving the goals of their clinical area; and to explore NMUMs’ career plans.

Methods: Set in Victoria, Australia, this study was guided by naturalistic inquiry using a qualitative descriptive approach. Thematic analysis was used to inductively develop core themes, which facilitated the motivations, experience and meanings underlying the data to be elaborated.

Results: In all, 39 interviews were conducted with NMUMs across four hospitals. Two overarching themes were identified from the data; system challenges and influences on people and each theme had three sub-themes. In relation to system challenges, participants spoke about the structural challenges that they encountered such as financial stressors and physical infrastructure that made their work difficult. Participants felt they were unprepared for the NMUM role and had limited support in the preparation for the role. Participants also related their frustration of not being included in important decision-making processes within the hospital. Regarding their career plans, most did not envisage a career beyond that of a NMUM.

Conclusions: This study of contemporary NMUMs uncovered a continued lack of investment in the orientation, professional development and support of this critical leadership and management role. There is an urgent need for targeted interventions to support and develop capabilities of NMUMs to meet the current and evolving demands of their role.

Item ID: 69943
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-6955
Keywords: Heath care management, Leadership, Midwifery unit manager, Nurse unit manager, Patient safety
Copyright Information: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 23:55
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420505 Nursing workforce @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4204 Midwifery > 420499 Midwifery not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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