Improving Exempt Nurse Leader Work-Life Balance: An Innovation Study

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Improving Exempt Nurse Leader Work-Life Balance: An Innovation Study


psph; washington; olympia


This study applies a combination of learning, motivational, and organizational theories with the application of the Clark and Estes (2008) gap analysis framework to understand exempt nurse leader (ENL) work-life balance. The purpose of this project was to identify the knowledge, motivation, and organizational assets and needs influencing the ENL ability to maintain work-life balance considering the workload and design of the position. With a qualitative design, this study included a vast literature review, and triangulated data from 10 interviews, 74 observations, and 32 organizational documents. The literature review identified 15 knowledge, motivation, and organizational influences pertinent to work-life balance. Analysis of the data revealed that 12 influences emerged as needs, and subsequently illuminated the necessity for individuals and organizations to work together to positively influence this problem of practice. Key points from the data analysis recognized the need for procedural and metacognitive development, self-efficacy, resource management, meaningful work, compatible expectations, and psychological safety. Based on the findings, and in conjunction with the literature, this project recommends the creation of, and on-going support for, a comprehensive work-life balance guided experience to provide individual and organizational support for ENLs to navigate and thrive in the dynamic terrain of nursing leadership. The Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick New World Model (2016) was utilized in the development of recommendations and evaluation mechanisms. This study helps to inform how individuals, who work in health care, and other critical services, especially in leadership positions, can move toward a balance of their work and personal life.