Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Clark, PhD, RN (Chair), Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Daniel L. Gross, DNSc, RN


motivation, nurse manager, nursing leadership, succesion planning


By the year 2020, it is estimated there will be a need for 3.45 million bedside nurses – at least 1.2 million more than the projected supply (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2011). In addition to the lack of bedside nurses, nurse manager vacancy rates are estimated to be as high as 8.3% nationwide. There is limited empirical data available on a nurse’s motivation to choose a nurse manager role. This qualitative research study’s purpose was to explore the factors influencing nurses’ motivation to seek a nurse manager role and to articulate a grounded theory of decision-making. The research subjects were five nurse managers working in Southern California. Participants took part in one-on-one interviews, conducted in private locations. Interviews lasted one hour to one and half hours. Data analysis occurred concurrently with data collection. Tape recordings of each interview were transcribed and additional notes were made regarding the place of discussion, situational characteristics and events associated with the interview. The model derived from the data provides a unique view of why nurses choose the nurse manager role that is particularly pertinent to sustaining nurse’s in the manager position. The motivations of nurses presented in this view arose from both internal and external influences and included themes of a planned or unplanned move, opportunity, influence of others, preparation for the role, and personal satisfaction. Participants also identified a category of factors (non-reasons) that specifically did not influence their decisions.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access