Social Support in the Workplace: Nurse Leader Implications

Maria R. Shirey


Nurs Econ. 2004;22(6):313-319. 

In This Article


The nursing profession is in the midst of a national nursing shortage. Researchers estimate that by the year 2020, the available registered nurse workforce will fall 20% below projected requirements (Buerhaus, Staiger, & Auerbach, 2000). While the shortage affects nurses in direct patient care positions, the inadequate supply of nurses to meet the growing care demands of an aging population will also affect the availability of qualified nurse managers. The nursing shortage literature extensively explores the staff nurse and direct caregiver perspective, but limited literature is available to explain the growing shortage of nurse managers. Given that nurse managers play an integral role in creating the work environment, a potential shortage of capable nurse managers poses a further threat to recruiting and retaining staff nurses in the profession.

Current staff nurses and nurse managers (Rudan, 2002) perceive the nurse manager role to be overwhelmingly stressful. This perception increasingly puts the future availability of nursing leaders at risk. Understanding the relationship between stress in the work environment and the impact of concepts and strategies to proactively mediate inherent job related stress is crucial. Knowledge about these relationships provides opportunity for developing interventions that will help make the nurse manager role attractive as a career option for future managers and more satisfying for those currently in the role.


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