Perceived competencies of nurse managers: A comparative analysis of the public and private sectors in South Africa.


Rubin Pillay

To reduce the disparities between the public and private sectors, it is important to discern first where gaps exist in nursing managers perceived competencies. This paper provides insight into the managers’ perspectives on their strengths and weaknesses, and where they believe they require training. Despite nursing managers playing a central role in ensuring the quality of health care in South Africa and elsewhere, there has been a paucity of research into their perceptions of their skills and competencies, and what their training needs are. A survey using a self administered questionnaire was conducted among 175 nursing managers in South Africa. Respondents were asked to rate their proficiency in 51 management competencies. Public sector nurse managers felt most competent in self management, planning and controlling and relatively less competent in ethical/legal aspects and task related skills. Private sector managers felt most competent in leading, self management and planning and relatively less competent in specific health delivery skills and ethical/legal competencies. Private sector managers perceived themselves to be significantly more competent than their public sector colleagues. Informal training was positively related higher perceived competency levels. This research confirms that there is a significant disparity in perceived management capacity between the public and private sectors in South Africa and also identifies the areas in which the lack of knowledge or skills is most significant for each of the sectors.

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