Staff Nurses’ Perceptions of Barriers and Facilitators of Effective Nursing Leadership in a Major Saudi Hospital

Ibrahim Alenezi1, *
1 College of Nursing, Northern Borders University, Arar, Saudi Arabia

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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Ibrahim Alenezi

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health and Administration, College of Nursing, Northern Borders University, Arar, Saudi Arabia; E-mail:



Leadership skills on the part of nursing managers are expected to improve care for patients under the care of registered nurses. To do so also requires all Saudi hospital nursing leaders to attract and retain qualified nursing staff during a time of global shortages.


The purpose of this study is to explore and identify the staff nurse perceptions of the barriers to and facilitators of effective nurse leadership for a major Saudi hospital and make recommendations for change.


An interpretative methodology guided by John Kotter’s change theory. Qualitative data were collected from 14 participants using semi-structured interviews in 2016 and analysed using content analysis.


Two main categories have been identified through the data analysis process. The first category was barriers to effective leadership, comprising an inadequate leadership education and skills development; a limited authority and clinical empowerment; an unawareness of the need for change; and poor communication. The second category was facilitators of effective leadership, encapsulated engaging and listening to staff and seeking their ideas; recognizing staff performance, and motivational strategies.


Even though the staff nurses who participated in this study were dissatisfied with the quality of leadership shown by their nurse managers, nevertheless they proffered an abundance of data during the study which accentuated the variety of organizational obstacles encountered by their nursing managers. They also voiced opinions on the workplace factors which might serve to assist nurse managers to improve the efficacy of their guidance. These were included in the study recommendations which were forwarded to all nursing managers employed at the hospital.

Keywords: Nursing leadership, Nursing management, Leadership barriers, Leadership facilitators, Hospital, Nurses.