Leadership and Nurse Retention: The Pivotal Role of Nurse Managers

Publication Title

Journal of Nursing Administration

Publication Date


Document Type



leadership, nurse retention, nurse managers


Nursing Administration


As the link between executives and bedside nurses, nurse managers assume roles that bridge both organizational and professional goals. Nurse retention is one of the many responsibilities that characterize the nurse manager's work. To better understand the pivotal role of nurse managers, the authors describe the views of 32 nurse managers regarding their roles and the characteristics they need to promote retention.

Healthcare systems are experiencing transitions that include how care is delivered, shifts in the technology that creates changes in the processes of healthcare, unstable payment models, an intergenerational work force, and a work force shortage.1 These changing trends are resulting in organizational complexity, instability, and uncertainty that must be internally managed by nurses as executives, managers, and practitioners. By virtue of their organizational position, first-line nurse managers (NMs) provide the interface between executives and bedside nurses and thus are particularly important in managing these transitions. NMs have multiple and competing demands that they must balance in defining, prioritizing, and implementing their role responsibilities to meet the goals of the organization as well as those of the profession. NMs are both challenged with and burdened by bridging these interests.