Let’s look for leaders – we need them! A survey on the authentic leadership competences among nursing students 

Joanna Gotlib,

Grzegorz Juszczyk,

Ilona Cieślak,

Aleksander Zarzeka,

Lucyna Iwanow,

Mariusz Panczyk


Background. Deficiencies among nursing staff results in a lower quality of nursing care, thereby threatening patients’ safety. A potential way to deal with the problem of insufficient nursing care is to implement effective leadership. Universities play a key role in creating future leaders who are able to initiate changes in health care systems. As leadership education requires adequate support (including financial aid and mentoring), it is necessary to identify those who would most benefit from additional training by analyzing natural leadership competences. To date, the issue of nursing leadership, especially authentic leadership, in Poland has not been sufficiently described. This study aimed to assess the level of competence in authentic leadership in a group of nursing students in Poland.

Methods. A total of 99 students (93 women and 6 men) from the Nursing Division, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Warsaw were recruited, including 58 students in their first year of first cycle (54 women and 4 men) and 41 students in their second year of the masters program (39 women and 2 men). The average age was 26.17 years (min. 24, max. 47, SD: 5.630). Students were assessed using the pen and paper interview (PAPI) method, and an anonymous Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ). The ALQ comprises 16 statements rated using the Likert scale, ranging from 1 (totally disagree) to 5, in four dimensions: self-awareness, ethics/morality, balanced processing, and transparency in relationships. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The reliability of the questionnaire measured by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.781.

Results. Only 24% of students had a high level of leadership competency (16–20 points) in the self-awareness dimension. Students achieved a low score (15 points or below) in the other dimensions (ethics/morality, balanced processing, and transparency in relations).

Conclusion. The overall level of leadership competency among the study group of nursing students in Poland was low. Nursing students with higher levels of authentic leadership competencies should be identified and given additional individual support from their home universities during their studies to provide future leaders for our health care system.

Słowa kluczowe: kompetencje społeczne, programu opieki, studenci, przywództwo , social competences, nursing program, students, leadership

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