Professional networks and support for nursing home directors of nursing

Aditi D. Rao, Lois K. Evans, Christine A. Mueller, Eileen T. Lake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined the influence of professional network characteristics, available professional support, and perceived support quality on intent to stay among for-profit nursing home (NH) directors of nursing (DON). We hypothesized that the receipt of high quality professional support would be associated with DON intent to stay. DONs have a critical mandate to provide leadership that influences their facilities’ work climate and care quality. Yet, they often struggle to manage overwhelming responsibilities and are left feeling alienated, frustrated, and intent on leaving their jobs. Professional support, accessed via professional networks, may help DONs combat frustration and mitigate turnover that threatens NH care quality. Using a descriptive survey design, we electronically surveyed all DONs employed by a single for-profit NH corporation to collect data pertaining to their professional networks, receipt of professional support, perceptions regarding support quality, and intentions to stay in their positions. One-hundred-ninety-five DONs (65%) responded, with 133 (44%) completing every survey component. We employed social network analysis methods to construct datasets linking descriptors of DON respondents with attribute information about 1,164 network members. Statistical analyses (ANOVAs, point biserial correlations, and binomial logistic regression) yielded several findings supporting our hypothesis: (i) DONs’ professional networks closely resembled the teams in which they worked daily; (ii) DONs relied on this core network of individuals to provide task support primarily; (iii) DON-nursing home administrator relationships were most important; and (iv) perceptions of support quality and support from nursing home administrators were the strongest predictors of DON intent to stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation's Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Predoctoral Scholarship.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation's

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • management
  • networks
  • nursing
  • nursing homes
  • support

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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