Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Colleen McKey





In healthcare organizations, the first–line nurse manager role is pivotal. The role links management and employees, and has a direct impact on organizational performance, including quality of care, financial stability, and patient satisfaction (Gallo, 2007). The first-line nurse manager interfaces with a variety of professions including physicians, and is expected to be clinically proficient, and to demonstrate non-nursing knowledge in areas such as labour relations, information technology, financial and business management (Gould, Kelly & Maidwell, 2001). When retirement projections are applied to the first-line nurse manager population, Canada will face a serious nursing management shortage this decade (CNA, 2009). In light of the paucity of research studies pertaining to this subject, an exploratory descriptive qualitative research study was conducted in a large regional health care organization in Central South Ontario to determine the factors that attract and retain Registered Nurses in this role. The findings revealed a discrepancy between the factors that attract and retain Registered Nurses in the first-line nurse manager role, underscored the importance of the mentor role, and confirmed the challenges encountered by first-line nurse managers practicing in the current healthcare environment. Several recommendations are presented at the individual, program, organization and policy levels to inform Registered Nurses who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing management, and to assist healthcare leaders to create environments that attract and support Registered Nurses in this important role.

McMaster University Library