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Res Nurs Health. 2019 Apr;42(2):136-147. doi: 10.1002/nur.21927. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Professional networks and support for nursing home directors of nursing.

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Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


In this study, we examined the influence of professional network characteristics, available professional support, and perceived support quality on intent to stay among for-profit nursing home (NH) directors of nursing (DON). We hypothesized that the receipt of high quality professional support would be associated with DON intent to stay. DONs have a critical mandate to provide leadership that influences their facilities' work climate and care quality. Yet, they often struggle to manage overwhelming responsibilities and are left feeling alienated, frustrated, and intent on leaving their jobs. Professional support, accessed via professional networks, may help DONs combat frustration and mitigate turnover that threatens NH care quality. Using a descriptive survey design, we electronically surveyed all DONs employed by a single for-profit NH corporation to collect data pertaining to their professional networks, receipt of professional support, perceptions regarding support quality, and intentions to stay in their positions. One-hundred-ninety-five DONs (65%) responded, with 133 (44%) completing every survey component. We employed social network analysis methods to construct datasets linking descriptors of DON respondents with attribute information about 1,164 network members. Statistical analyses (ANOVAs, point biserial correlations, and binomial logistic regression) yielded several findings supporting our hypothesis: (i) DONs' professional networks closely resembled the teams in which they worked daily; (ii) DONs relied on this core network of individuals to provide task support primarily; (iii) DON-nursing home administrator relationships were most important; and (iv) perceptions of support quality and support from nursing home administrators were the strongest predictors of DON intent to stay.


management; networks; nursing; nursing homes; support


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