The Meaning of Managerial Competency of ICU Head Nurses in Iran: A Phenomenological Study

Roghieh Nazari, Zohreh Vanaki, Sima MohammadKhan Kermanshahi, Ebrahim Hajizadeh


Background: The health system in Iran faces specific challenges as the managerial role of head nurses have changed. The importance of this role cannot be underestimated for the healthcare organizations’ success. The present study was conducted to explore the meaning of managerial competence of head nurses in intensive care units (ICU) in Iran.

Materials and Methods: This study used a qualitative approach. We extracted the lived experience of ten Iranian ICU head nurses. Data were collected through unstructured in‑depth interviews from 2014 to 2015. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and were interpreted using Van Manen’s six‑step approach.

Results: The expansion and clustering of 442 initial themes led to the emergence of 35 secondary themes, nine subthemes, and three main themes. Managerial competence – theme included “self‑excellence,” “ward excellence,” and “intensive care excellence.”

Conclusions: The “managerial competence of ICU head nurses” is a dynamic concept that reflects the psychological and functional capability of head nurses in contributing towards excellence in their own critical care practice as well as that of the ward. A competent head nurse has outstanding personal and nursing attributes and holistic knowledge, and is also committed to the ongoing professional improvement of him/herself. Using their ability to facilitate interpersonal and interprofessional communication effectively, a head nurse seeks the psychological, physical, and human optimization of the ward in which he/she works. Therefore, the goal of providing insightful critical care through smart organization and planning of nurses and other personnel can be achieved.



Critical care nursing, intensive care units, Iran, nursing, professional role

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