Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Hal Knight

Committee Members

Terrence A. Tollefson, Nancy Dishner, Andrew Czuchry


Transformational leadership has been linked to improved organizational performance and has been recognized as a possible solution to the challenges in Health Care. The role of Nurse Executives (NE) has become an influential leadership position in Health Care Organizations (HCO) and a factor in improving HCO. The purpose of this research was to explore self-reported leadership practices of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Medical Center NEs, examine leadership strengths of the NEs, and report professional development needs of the NEs.

The study population consisted of NEs employed in the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC’s) throughout the United States. The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Self-assessment by Kouzes and Posner (2001) was the survey instrument. A letter eliciting participation and a web page address containing the LPI was emailed to the NEs. The survey was completed via the web and submitted electronically. Seventy-seven (55%) of the NEs participated in the study.

The results indicate the VHA NEs in this study are using transformational leadership practices regularly. Self-reported leadership practices of this population of NEs indicate that they are engaged in the five leadership practices of challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart. The NE strengths are enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart. They scored slightly lower in challenging the process and inspiring a shared vision. The self-reported LPI scores of the NE in this study were statistically significantly higher than the leaders in Kouzes and Posner’s research (2002b).

The NEs were asked to identify the five most essential leadership skills of exemplary NE. The results indicate professional development for NE should include: transformational leadership skills, financial skills, organization skills, and personnel management skills. Incorporating these skills into a professional development program for NE could be a starting point to improving organizational performance of HCOs.

The results of this research provide insight into current NE leadership practices and the professional development needs of NEs, which may lead to the development of a model for professional leadership training for NEs.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.