Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Carolyn Sabo

Second Committee Member

Sally Miller

Number of Pages



Healthcare organizations have seen remarkable and unprecedented changes over the past two decades. Political and social expectations have risen, drastic changes in payer systems have lead to a focus on controlling costs and profitability and technology and research has exploded. As a result, the role of the Nurse Executive (NE) has expanded significantly. At the same time, the United States is currently undergoing a major nursing and faculty shortage. According to a 2003 study, the average age of a NE is 49 years (Ballein Search Partners, 2003) with many expected to retire over the next 12 years. The potential exists for a leadership vacuum during a critical juncture, in healthcare. Despite drastic changes in healthcare and nursing practice, changes in nursing education have not kept pace; The purpose of conducting this study was to determine if NEs perceive role conflict and role ambiguity in relation to their expanded responsibilities and if NEs are satisfied with their current position. It is important for nursing education to explore how NEs are faring during this critical juncture so that nursing education outlets many seek both formal and informal ways to provide educational content and skills to both support the current cohort of NEs and provide future leaders the knowledge and environment necessary for clinical skill development and important leadership positions; A national survey of NEs measuring role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction, depression and selected demographics was conducted. Participants had the option of participating electronically or via paper surveys. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, MANOVA and t test comparisons with a previous survey; The data revealed low to moderate levels of role conflict (3.04), and role ambiguity (2.91), among NEs surveyed. Measured job satisfaction (4.01), was high while depression scores (7.42) were low among those surveyed. There was no relationship between NE age and any of the four dependent variables; however the results suggest some degree of relationship with educational level. Those with a doctorate non-nursing had higher levels of both role conflict and role ambiguity than some other education levels. Recommendations for practice and further research are also provided.


Ambiguity; Conflict; Executives; Job; Job Satisfaction; Nurse Executives; Role; Role Conflict; Satisfaction

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

2007.04 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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