Nurses in management roles should be taught “transformational leadership” skills in order to boost retention of nursing staff in the early stages of their career, suggests a Canadian study.
Researchers, from McGill University’s Ingram school of nursing, noted that encouraging nurses to work towards a collective goal within a supportive group – a style of management called transformational leadership – can have positive effects on the quality of the care given to patients.
Management style among nurses affects staff retention
It was also a predictor of nurses’ intentions to stay on at their current healthcare facilities, they highlighted.
Conversely – and not unexpectedly – they noted that abusive leadership practices potentially led to poorer quality of care and to a strong intention to quit.
The findings come from a sample of 541 registered nurses in Quebec, with less than five years of nursing experience who completed an anonymous online survey and self-reported on the effect of different management styles.
“Paying close attention to the leadership practices of nurse managers could go a long way in improving patient care and increasing the retention rate among our new nurses,” said Dr Mélanie Lavoie-Tremblay, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
“Managers should use the results to provide training for nurse managers focusing on transformational leadership practices and the dangers of abusive leadership,” she added.
“Abusive leadership creates working conditions that could be detrimental to the practice of nursing at career start”
The research comes as the poor retention of nursing staff by employers was identified as a key problem preventing an overall increase in NHS nurse numbers.
Health Education England chief executive Ian Cumming said earlier this week that a failure by employers to tackle poor retention of existing staff was a barrier that needed to be overcome in order to achieve a predicted 80,000 increase in the NHS workforce by 2020 – a target set out in the workforce planning body’s latest plans in December.
He said: “Retention is one of the biggest areas we have got to start focusing the system on in the next year because we can keep training more and more people, but if we are not keeping the people we have already trained we are stacking up problems and costs for the system.”