Nursing leadership in academic nursing: The wisdom of development and the development of wisdom

Daniel J. Pesut, Sarah A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to discuss insights derived from adult cognitive developmental theories and relate the insights to vertical leadership development in academic nursing contexts. Equipped with developmental understanding, academic leaders are in a better position to support the vertical leadership development of one's self, faculty, peers, and colleagues. From a cognitive developmental perspective, the authors’ reason as leaders develop, grow, and evolve, sense making becomes more sophisticated and nuanced resulting in the development of wisdom. Leadership wisdom is a function of horizontal (acquisition of information, skills, and competencies) and vertical development (the development of more complex and sophisticated ways of thinking). Ways to enhance vertical development, and sense making to cultivate wisdom are discussed. Principles and practices that promote vertical development in self and others deepens performance expectations of those in the academy and supports personal professional development and organizational success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Academic nursing leadership
  • Action logics
  • Cognitive development
  • Horizontal and vertical development
  • Leadership
  • Leadership agility
  • Sense making
  • Stage developmental theories
  • Wisdom


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