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Promoting Nursing Leadership in Ontario Long-Term Care Facilities

Study Overview

To strengthen the pool of nurse leaders in Ontario long-term care facilities there must be opportunities available for both established and up and coming nurse leaders to develop and practice effective leadership knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Leadership development in long-term care should lead to stronger work environments that will then lead to improved patient and organizational outcomes.

Study Purpose

The purpose of the study is:

  1. To implement a strategy that promotes nurse leadership development across the Ontario long-term care services sector.
  2. To test the outcomes of this strategy related to leadership practices of participants, characteristics of long-term care work environments, responses of nursing staff to their work and work environments, and organizational outcomes.
  3. To use study findings to influence policy development aimed at strengthening nurse leadership across Ontario’s long-term care services sector.

Leadership Development Strategy

One strategy for developing nurse leaders in long term care is through participation in the Dorothy M. Wylie Nursing Leadership Institute. This Institute has been shown to be an effective strategy in developing leadership practices for both established and up and coming nurse leaders.  In this institute, participants have opportunities to learn theoretical and practical perspectives related to effective management and leadership and to practice skills and behaviors of effective leaders.

An established nurse leader and an up and coming nurse leader who usually work together apply to participate in the institute together. The institute involves a 5 day residency program with a booster weekend at the Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning in Scarborough, Ontario. Spaces for nurse leaders specifically in long term care were reserved at the Dorothy M. Wylie Nursing Leadership Institute in October 2007 as part of this research study.

Study Design

Participants completed a series of questionnaires before participating in the institute (pre-test) and every 5-6 months after the institute (post-test) for up to a 2-year period. At each testing period, leadership institute participants were asked to invite their immediate supervisor and up to 10 co-workers to participate in the study. Supervisors and co-workers were asked to assess their colleagues leadership practices, to describe characteristics of the work environment, responses to their work and work environment, and intent to remain in or leave employment. To enhance and ease participation at each testing period, research staff visited participating long-term care facilities to facilitate data collection.

Research Team

This study was conducted by a team of researchers: Ann Tourangeau and Lisa Cranley from the University of Toronto and Heather Laschinger from the University of Western Ontario. The study was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and received ethical approval from the University of Toronto Health Sciences I Research Ethics Board.

This study is now complete.

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