Nurses whose managers encourage teamwork towards a collective goal within a supportive environment are more likely to stay at their jobs, according to a study by McGill University and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. This style of management, called transformational leadership, led to higher job satisfaction among nurses. Nurses faced with abusive managers are also more likely to quit, the researchers said.

“With the supply of nurses in Canada in decline, we need to improve how we manage our health-care work force,” says Mélanie Lavoie-Tremblay, an Associate Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing. “Paying close attention to the leadership practices of nurse managers could go a long way in improving patient care and increasing the retention rate among our new nurses.”

Read also: The dilemma of dialysis nurse retention

It is difficult for dialysis clinics to retain their staff nurses because they are often undervalued, overworked, and typically not paid as much as their counterparts in other specialties. More

Early on in her career working as a new nurse, Lavoie-Tremblay said she found herself “concerned” by the work environment she witnessed and experienced in the health care setting. She along with her colleagues took action by studying the effects of abusive and transformational leadership styles using a sample of 541 registered nurses practicing in Quebec with an average age of 26. The team devised an anonymous online survey and asked the participants to self-report on the effect of management styles.

“We found that while transformational leadership should be promoted, it is essential to spread the word that abusive leadership creates working conditions that could be detrimental to nursing practice in the profession”, says Lavoie-Tremblay, “Managers should use the results to provide training for nurse managers focusing on transformational leadership practices and the dangers of abusive leadership”.