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Nurse leaders' changing roles over 25 years: a qualitative study

Frøydis Vasset (Department for Health, Molde University College, Molde, Norway)
Lisbeth Fagerstrøm (Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Åbo Akademi University, Vasa, Finland)
Marianne Louise Frilund (Department of Health Sciences Ålesund, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Ålesund, Norway)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 3 August 2022

Issue publication date: 27 January 2023




The purpose of this study is to emphasise nurses’ experiences of nurse leaders' changing roles over 25 years.


A qualitative study was performed with individual interviews of eight nurse managers. From Norway and Finland, all nurse managers with more than 25 years of experience and working in specialist health care and primary health care were included in the study.


These nurse managers have a lot of knowledge and resolved conflicts using improved methods and have experienced continuous change. The role of nurse manager ranges from bedside to exclusive administrative work. The organisations have become more extensive, and the staff has grown. These changes have led to many challenges and more complex organisations.

Research limitations/implications

Nurse managers who have worked for over a 25-year period had useful experience and could handle many new challenges. They can change themselves and their organisation tasks over time and follow the development of society.


Based on their experiences as novices at the beginning of their career, the informants demonstrate their development to the level of expert manager.



Vasset, F., Fagerstrøm, L. and Frilund, M.L. (2023), "Nurse leaders' changing roles over 25 years: a qualitative study", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 125-139.



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