238980 Perceived Leadership Qualities of Public Health Nursing Leaders: Challenges in Advancing Public Health Nursing

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

David Reyes, MN MPH RN , School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Betty Bekemeier, PhD, MPH, RN , Psychosocial and Community Health, University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, WA
L. Michele Issel, PhD RN , School of Public Health, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background: Public health nursing (PHN) leaders, specifically directors of nursing (DON), in local health departments (LHDs) continue to face leadership challenges related to maintaining and developing qualified public health nurses. The HRSA funded Keeping RNs to Improve and Strengthen Population Health (KRISP) project seeks to support the directors in addressing leadership challenges such as these. However, little empirical information exists describing their realities and experiences upon which to base interventions. The aim of this study was to ascertain perceptions and challenges of effective leadership for LHD directors of nursing. Methodology: An exploratory study using semi-structured interviews was conducted with a purposive sample of seven nursing directors in six county LHDs in two states. Participants provided individual, tape-recorded semi-structured telephone interviews. Questions included probes about their experiences leading nurses, characteristics of persuasive leadership, barriers to effective leadership, and roles and responsibilities in their LHD and the community. Inductive methods were used to analyze and code the data, and to identify salient patterns and themes. Credibility of the data was achieved through inter-coder reliability and resonance of the findings with study participants. Results: Data analysis yielded five primary domains: Accountable PHN Practice, Co-existent Accountabilities, Effectiveness Barriers, Influential Leadership, and Life-long Learning. These domains were represented across all seven PHN leaders, with variations in the sub-category distribution. Conclusions: The PHN leaders' ability to achieve KRISP goals is constrained by system and organizational barriers. Study implications suggest opportunities to identify leadership gaps, support, and develop public health nursing leadership.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Define accountable PHN practice. 2. Identify challenges faced by public health nursing leaders to advance public health nursing. 3. Describe elements of influential public health leadership.

Keywords: Leadership, Public Health Administration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a DNP student at the University of Washington School of Nursing, and conducted this research study for the KRISP project. I am a Health Services Administrator for the local health department in King County, Washington, providing oversight for health operations at multiple public health centers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.