December 14, 2023

Report pinpoints leadership barriers for women nurses

Editor's Note

A new report is the first to offer a comprehensive examination of the barriers women nurses face in advancing into leadership roles. The report was published December 13 in eClinicalMedicine, part of The Lancet.

The review looks at decades of research in order to establish the specific sociocultural, professional, organizational, and individual factors preventing women nurses from advancing to leadership roles. Key takeaways include:

  • Women constitute nearly 70% of the global healthcare workforce, and 89% of these are nurses, but women fill only 25% of senior healthcare roles.
  • Barriers to leadership include lack of role models and leadership training; social and cultural expectations, gender bias and lack of support for work-life balance; and professional bias, age bias, and preference for full-time employees. 
  • One fear expressed was that becoming a nurse leader meant losing clinical skills and connection with patients—a sharp contrast to medical leadership pathways that enable clinicians to hold both leadership and clinical roles.  

Researchers noted that the findings can help drive new organizational and system-level strategies to better support the advancement of women leaders in nursing. 

Live chat by BoldChat