University of Oulu

Vuorivirta-Vuoti, E., Kuha, S. and Kanste, O. (2023), "Nurse leaders’ perceptions of future leadership in hospital settings in the post-pandemic era: a qualitative descriptive study", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Nurse leaders’ perceptions of future leadership in hospital settings in the post-pandemic era : a qualitative descriptive study

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Author: Vuorivirta-Vuoti, Eeva1; Kuha, Suvi1; Kanste, Outi1
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, 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: 2023-09-29


Purpose: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has challenged leadership in hospitals worldwide. The experiences of leadership during the pandemic changed leadership significantly. This study aims to describe nurse leaders’ perceptions of what future leadership in hospital settings in the post-pandemic era needs to be like.

Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative descriptive study was used. A total of 20 nurse leaders from the Finnish central hospital were interviewed from June to October 2021. The data were analysed using inductive content analysis.

Findings: The analysis revealed five main categories describing nurse leaders’ perceptions of future leadership in hospital settings in the post-pandemic era: digitalisation and hybrid working culture, development of sustainable working conditions, moving smoothly to the post-pandemic era, dissolution of traditional regimes of organisation and flexibility in leadership.

Practical implications: In the post-pandemic era, the constantly changing demands and challenges currently facing healthcare systems have significantly increased the complexity of hospital organisations. This requires critical evaluation and change to traditional leadership. Enhancing flexibility and authenticity in leadership, strengthening competencies, implementing a wide range of digital resources and increasing the appeal of the nursing profession to build the next generation of nurses — all of these are needed to provide sustainability in future healthcare.

Originality/value: The results identify the critical points of leadership that need to be developed for future challenges and for maintaining a sufficient supply of qualified professionals. Acting on this information will enhance flexibility in organisations and lead to acceleration of changes and the development of new kinds of leadership in the future.

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Series: Leadership in health services
ISSN: 1751-1879
ISSN-E: 1751-1887
ISSN-L: 1751-1879
Issue: ahead-of-print
DOI: 10.1108/LHS-05-2023-0032
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © Eeva Vuorivirta-Vuoti, 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