Why Nurse Managers?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed health care and profoundly impacted the entire nursing workforce. The AONL Nursing Leadership COVID-19 Longitudinal Studies, funded by the AONL Foundation and conducted by Joslin Marketing, found that of the over 800 managers who completed the quantitative survey, one in three respondents reported they were not emotionally healthy. Respondents who participated in the qualitative portion of the study also reported a need for meaningful recognition and support.
Nurse managers and front-line nurse leaders:
- Have 24 hour accountability and responsibility for a direct care unity or units.
- Provide the vital link between the administrative strategic plan and the point of care.
- Are responsible for creating safe, healthy environments that support the work of the health care team and contribute to patient engagement.
- Are influential in creating a professional environment and fostering a culture where interdisciplinary team members are able to contribute to optimal patient outcomes and grow professionally.
(From the AONL Nurse Manager Competencies.)
This collaboration came about from the question, "What can we do to help nurse managers and front-line nurse leaders now?"
As the adage says, "If not now, when?" The AONL Covid-Insight study also found that one in four nurse manager respondents said they may or plan to leave nursing. Nurse managers need support now.
The work of Beyond Gratitude begins with meaningful recognition, right now.
Phase 1: Meaningful Recognition
This initiative was created to:
- Thank nurse managers and front-line leaders directly. Acknowledge the integral role they play in health care.
- Inform other stakeholders about nurse managers' contributions and why they are so valuable to our health care system, and
- Issue a call to action. Provide a readily accessible for everyone, individuals and organizations, to honor and recognize nurse managers and front-line nurse leaders in a meaningful way.
Additional information, ways to participate, and toolkits are available at nursemanager.org.
We know that clinical nurses benefit from meaningful recognition in terms of mitigation of compassion fatigue, increase in compassion satisfaction, a contribution to well-being and more. In the business sector, meaningful recognition of leaders has been linked to greater job satisfaction, engagement, loyalty and productivity. However, there is a dearth of evidence in published literature around nurse manager or front-line nurse leader recognition. This gap may help explain why so many health care organizations do not have a formal program in place for meaningful nurse manager recognition. It was evident from the AONL survey and anecdotal reports that health care organizations must intervene with nurse managers to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Meaningful recognition is one strategy to mitigate reports of needing recognition and psychological support.
The mixed method research program in phase one of Beyond Gratitude will address the gap in the nursing leadership literature and create new knowledge around meaningful recognition to impact nurse managers and organizations. The research program will occur in three major phases focusing on:
The DAISY Foundation will track trends in implementation of the DAISY Nurse Leader award and examine overall awareness of the program. This analysis will provide immediate measurement on impacts of the awareness initiative, specifically the call to action. We anticipate one result of the awareness initiative will be an influx of organizations adopting a meaningful nurse leader recognition program. For our purposes, the exemplar that we will measure for meaningful nurse leader recognition is the DAISY Nurse Leader Award.
This qualitative study will explore:
- How nurse managers think about, feel about, and respond to recognition,
- How nurse managers want to be recognized.
The analysis will help provide guidance to chief nursing officers, directors, and other leaders in the health care setting on how best to recognize nurse managers in a meaningful way to meet the managers' needs. Findings from this qualitative study will inform phase three.
The quantitative study will examine whether compassion fatigue, recognition, and perceived organizational support improve after implementation of a meaningful recognition program compared to nurse managers who have not been recognized.
The results of this portion of the research will show the impact of meaningful recognition on the individual nurse manager or front-line nurse leader and the organization after one year of meaningful recognition. We anticipate that this analysis will help provide guidance to chief nursing officers, directors, and other leaders in the health care setting on how best to recognize nurse managers in a meaningful way to meet the managers' needs and organizational goals.
When this initial mixed method research program is completed, we anticipate adding to the body of knowledge around nurse manager recognition with concrete, actionable results showcasing the impact of ongoing, meaningful recognition on nurse managers and their organizations. Leaders of health care organizations will be able to apply results within their own organizations.
Phase 2 and 3: Creating long-term solutions
Tools and resources, grounded in rigorous research, to help nurse managers and leaders have crucial and productive conversations to address concerns and create long-term solutions that will improve work experience, sense of gratitude and well-being.