University of Oulu

Ahti, M., Taipale-Walsh, L., Kuha, S. and Kanste, O. (2023), "Health-care leaders’ experiences of the competencies required for crisis management during COVID-19: a systematic review of qualitative studies", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Health-care leaders’ experiences of the competencies required for crisis management during COVID-19 : a systematic review of qualitative studies

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Author: Ahti, Miro1; Taipale-Walsh, Leonie1; Kuha, Suvi1,2;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-05-22


Purpose: This paper aims to synthesize health-care leaders’ experiences of the competencies required for crisis management.

Design/methodology/approach: The systematic review followed the joanna briggs institute (JBI) guidance for systematic reviews of qualitative evidence. The search strategy included free text words and medical subject headings and peer-reviewed qualitative studies published in English, Finnish and Swedish and was not limited by year or country of publication. The databases searched in March 2022 were Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, ABI/INFORM and the Finnish database Medic. Gray literature was searched using MedNar and EBSCO Open Dissertations. Studies were screened by title and abstract (n = 9,014) and full text (n = 43), and their quality was assessed by two independent reviewers. Eight studies were included. The data was analyzed using meta-aggregation.

Findings: Fifty-one findings (themes and subthemes) were extracted, and 11 categories were created based on their similarities. Five synthesized findings were developed: the competence to comprehend the operational environment; the competence to stay resilient amidst change; the competence to adapt to and manage change; the competence to manage and take care of staff; and the competence to co-operate and communicate with diverse stakeholders.

Conclusions: This systematic review produced novel information about health-care leaders’ experiences of the competencies required for crisis management during COVID-19. This study complements the field of research into crisis management in health care by introducing five original and unique competency clusters required for crisis management during the acute phase of COVID-19.

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Series: Leadership in health services
ISSN: 1751-1879
ISSN-E: 1751-1887
ISSN-L: 1751-1879
Volume: In press
DOI: 10.1108/LHS-10-2022-0104
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © Miro Ahti, Leonie Taipale-Walsh, Suvi Kuha and Outi Kanste. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at