Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 23(2) June 2010 : 60-71.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2010.21833
Nursing Research

Leadership Attributes: A Key to Optimal Utilization of the Community Health Nursing Workforce

Rebecca Ganann, Jane Underwood, Sue Matthews, Rosemarie Goodyear, Lynnette Leeseberg Stamler, Donna Marie Meagher-Stewart and Val Munroe


This research examined leadership attributes that support the optimal utilization and practice of community health nurses (CHNs). Community health nursing is facing challenges in workforce capacity and sustainability. To meet current and future demands on the community sector, it is essential to understand workplace attributes that facilitate effective utilization of existing human resources and recruitment of new nurses. This pan-Canadian, mixed-methods study included a demographic analysis of CHNs in Canada, a survey involving responses from approximately 6,700 CHNs to identify enablers and barriers to community health nursing practice and 23 focus groups to examine organizational attributes that "best" support optimal practice within the public health nursing subsector. Nursing leadership was identified as an important attribute in organizations' utilization and support of CHNs working to work effectively. This effectiveness, in turn, will enhance community health programs and overall healthcare system efficiency. This paper highlights findings related to the role of nursing leadership and leadership development in optimizing community health nursing practice.



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