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Managerial competencies of head nurses: a model and assessment tool

10 January 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 1


Head nurses' performance plays an important role in the successful operation of hospitals. Identification and prioritisation of managerial competencies required for these supervisors and evaluation of their performance on this basis are necessary. This study aimed to provide a valid tool for assessing managerial competencies of hospital department head nurses. First, through literature review, Delphi technique and expert panel, a competency model was developed. Then using the analytic hierarchy process, competencies were weighted and prioritised. Finally, based on the model, an instrument was designed to measure the competencies of head nurses. Validity and reliability of the instrument was also checked. The proposed framework included 27 competencies categorised by four main managerial tasks: planning, organising, leadership and control. Findings revealed that the highest priority was given to strategic thinking (0.1221) and the lowest priority was given to evidence-based decision making (0.007). Based on impact score and content validity ratio results, the content validity of all questions has been proved. Furthermore through the use of a content validity index, 11 questions were omitted or modified. The study presents a valid and comprehensive model for assessing managerial competencies of hospital department head nurses in order to take an important step towards improving their performance.

The existence of an efficient and effective evaluation system for recognition of personnel competencies and capabilities can play a significant role in reducing organisations' costs and providing services with higher levels of quality (Meretoja and Leino-Kilpi, 2003; Shafii et al, 2016). Improvement in management performance may not be achieved unless there is an appropriate model for performance evaluation based on accurate and applicable indicators. Such a model provides an opportunity for proper and principled selection and training of managers who are capable of organising healthcare provision processes to be efficient, effective and responsive (Pillay, 2010; Liang et al, 2013).

Although there are different assessment methods, several studies have focused on competence-based approaches for evaluating the performance of healthcare managers, particularly head nurses—that is, the lead nurse for each particular clinical department (Arcand and Neumann, 2005; Cowan et al, 2005; Liu et al, 2007; Cummings et al, 2010; Pillay, 2010; Dadgar et al, 2012; Wongprasit, 2014).

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