Nurse educators’ perceptions of their own self-leadership: An explorative qualitative inquiry

Vhothusa Edward Matahela


Background and objective: Organisations, including academic institutions, are moving away from the traditional top-down command and control leadership styles to a focus on internal leadership (self-leadership) of staff. In the absence of traditional external leadership, individuals with self-leadership skills and qualities can make smart decisions to achieve organisational success. Despite the availability of literature studies on nurses’ self-leadership, there is a dearth of studies addressing self-leadership in nurse educators. It is imperative that a study exploring nurse educators' perceptions regarding their self-leadership be conducted to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. This would assist in identifying the role that stakeholders play in creating an enabling academic environment that promotes the development, the practice, and supportive interventions of self-leadership. This study sought to explore and describe the perceptions of nurse educators regarding their self-leadership and how this can be facilitated in a nursing education institution (NEI) context.

Methods: A qualitative, exploratory, and descriptive research design was used to provide an in-depth exploration of the perceptions of nurse educators regarding their self-leadership in an NEI setting.  Four semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with purposively selected nurse educators, and audiotaped until data saturation resulted. The researcher and an independent coder analysed the data using Tesch protocols on thematic analysis. Lincoln and Guba’s strategies were used to achieve trustworthiness.

Results: Two themes emerged, namely: nurse educators’ perceptions of self-leadership; and the facilitation of self-leadership in nurse educators.

Conclusions: The nurse educators mirrored themselves as leaders in action and are aware of the importance of their engagement in self-leadership activities in learning and teaching. Facilitating self-leadership within nurse educators was perceived to be the responsibility of individual nurse educators, and to a certain extent their colleagues, and that of the institutional management team.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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