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Nursing Management and Leadership: Looking Beyond Professional Boundaries to Achieve Organisational Goals in Health

Nurse unit managers (known previously as charge nurses) play a key role in the effective and efficient delivery of health care services. Within the organisational setting, nurse unit managers are directly responsible for the core business of patient care. The nurse unit manager's ability to influence better outcomes for the patient is significant. This can be achieved through nurse managers developing their leadership and management skills in order to influence patient care planning and decision making. Better understanding of the nurse unit manager's role and its requirements, as well as identifying the nurses who can meet the expectations of the role, is a challenge for nurse leaders.

The organisation in which we work, the Southern Health Care Network in Melbourne (see figure 3.1), is undergoing enormous change. To explore the experience of nurse unit managers in our Network, in February-March 1995, Helen conducted a series of interviews. The feedback obtained provides insights into the issues facing nurse managers in times of unprecedented change and helps us to articulate: where we see nursing going in our organisation; where we want to lead it; and what outcomes we want to achieve.

Contents include

  • Introduction
  • Drivers of change in health care
    • Casemix funding
    • Corporatisation and privatisation
    • Managed competition
    • Change
  • The organisation
  • The program management model
  • Nursing beyond professional boundaries: the nurse unit manager- the key to unit performance
    • Nurses versus generic managers
    • What is a 'good' nurse unit manager?
    • Devotion of control
  • The practical experience - nurses' view of the change in role
    • Organisational response to nurse unit manager role development
    • Leading performers - an example of a high-performance unit
      • The nurse unit manager
      • The team
      • The requirements
      • The performance
      • The achievements
  • Conclusion
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Author / Editor Biographies

Helen Kemp is a registered nurse who received her initial nursing qualification as a hospital trainee at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Whilst completing her nursing training she also completed a Bachelor of Arts at Queensland University, majoring in human movement studies and sociology. In 1984 she completed a Master of Business Administration at the University of Melbourne. At present she holds the dual roles of Joint General Manager, Dandenong Hospital, and Director of Nursing of the Southern Health Care Network in Melbourne, which consists of seven main fac...
Dale Fisher completed her nurse education in 1984 at Western Hospital in Melbourne. She completed her Bachelor of Business in Business Administration at RMIT University in Melbourne in 1994 and is at present in her second year of a Master of Business Administration at Monash University's Mt Eliza Business School. She works within the Southern Health Care Network where she holds the dual roles of Director of Surgical Nursing Services at Monash Medical Centre, the tertiary hospital of the Network, and Contract Coordinator of Support Services, where she is responsible for reviewing the provision ...

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