Contemporary Managerial Issues in the Nursing Sector - Recognizing the Year of the Nurse

Call for papers for: Journal of Managerial Psychology

Contemporary Managerial Issues in the Nursing Sector: Recognizing the Year of the Nurse

Guest Editors:
Dr. Peter Harms, University of Alabama, USA
Dr. Graham Lowman, Kennesaw State University, USA

Deadline for submissions:
28th March 2021

Special Issue Overview:
In early 2019, the World Health Organization declared 2020 to be the Year of the Nurse and Midwife (WHO, 2020b). The year was set in accordance with Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday; combined with the global outbreak of COVID-19, the declaration of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife could not be more appropriate or timely.

Nurses comprise the largest occupation within healthcare, representing 59% of global healthcare professionals (WHO, 2020a). In this way, nurses are directly related to the majority of individuals’ healthcare experiences and are often the “first and only point of care in their communities” (WHO, 2020b). The importance of nurses is even greater in the context of the global pandemic brought about by the COVID-19 virus, as they represent the frontline of defense combatting the virus and are typically the healthcare providers most likely to be exposed to infected individuals. 

Despite the clear importance of the nursing profession and its impact on the current challenges faced by society, nurses are primarily used as samples to study broader management issues (e.g., Hepburn & Enns, 2013; Koopman et al., 2019; Wu et al., 2019) or to serve as a comparative sample (e.g., Anaza, 2015; Lanyon & Goodstein, 2016). The specific use of Human Resource Management (HRM) and Organizational Behavior (OB) research to address practical challenges and concerns within nursing, as well as deepen our understanding of the profession more broadly, is rarely undertaken.

However, as an exception, the Journal of Managerial Psychology (JMP) has published a number of empirical articles designed to integrate HRM/OB into the nursing context. For instance, Russo and Buonocore (2012) examined the relationship between work-family enrichment and nurse turnover. As another example, Russo et al. (2015) explored the antecedents related to nurses’ intentions to report errors in the workplace. More recently, Woolnough et al. (2019) conducted a qualitative study to investigate how female nurses perceive and experience the glass ceiling within their profession. While studies such as these, as well as those specific to the nursing literature (e.g., Drennan et al., 2016), have advanced the integration of HRM/OB into the nursing context, this stream of research remains relatively sparse.

This shortcoming and lack of cross-discipline research is notable, particularly given the areas of concern currently faced in nursing. For example, the profession continues to struggle with a shortage of nurses, with an estimated 5.7 million new nurses needed by 2030 to meet current healthcare demands (WHO, 2020a). COVID-19 has exacerbated this issue, as potential future nurses are more aware than ever of the considerable dangers associated with the profession, causing leaders in nursing education to voice concerns surrounding the attractiveness of nursing as a career option (e.g., Morin, 2020; Rosa, 2020). In this way, research into perceptions of nursing as a career, for those looking to start a new career, student nurses, and individuals currently in nursing could provide valuable insight to understanding how COVID-19 has influenced perceptions of nursing and to identify potential means by which nurse educators and employers could encourage individuals to pursue or remain in nursing as a career.

In a similar manner, research is needed better understand and improve recruitment, selection, and retention of nurses in high need areas and areas facing severe nurse shortages such as rural communities. In a review of high-impact papers in nursing research, Zhu et al. (2020) noted that, “Nursing human resource management is still a topic worthy of research for nursing managers around the world” (p.1051). This line of research is particularly needed for nurses and nurse employers in rural areas and communities faced with economic or environmental difficulties (e.g., Rosa, 2020). Therefore, we encourage HRM researchers to leverage and apply their expertise to the nursing context. In doing so, significant advances could be made to help the nursing profession address the longstanding and pressing challenge of the nursing shortage. 

In addition to traditional HRM topics, areas such as workplace harassment (Thompson, 2020), mental health (Mukhtar, 2020), and leadership training and development (e.g., Rosa, 2020; Rosser et al., 2020; WHO, 2020a) have received calls for additional research from the nursing community. Regarding the former, research is needed to better understand the role of organizational climate and culture in relation to nurse perceptions and experiences. Regarding the latter, nurse researchers have noted the “void in leadership” as one of the primary shortcomings in the profession surfaced by COVID-19 (Davison, 2020). Leadership research within the nursing context is therefore sorely needed. In both cases, intervention studies involving changes in organizational culture or the effectiveness of leadership training and development would be particularly valuable. 

Therefore, in light of 2020 being the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the central role of nurses in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and the opportunity for HRM/OB researchers to address current and pressing concerns within the field of nursing, we present a call for research that integrates HRM/OB into the nursing context. 

Objectives of this Special Issue:
1.    To integrate current and novel HRM/OB perspectives into the nursing context as a means to address relevant and practical concerns presently faced by the nursing profession.
2.    To challenge and advance HRM/OB frameworks and theories through their application and testing within the nursing context.
3.    To provide a comprehensive and cross-discipline reference for management and nursing researchers and practitioners seeking to understand and leverage HRM/OB within the nursing context. 

We invite empirical and conceptual contributions addressing – but not limited to – the following broad research themes:

  •     Recruitment of nurses – both to the profession and to underserved regions
  •     Turnover and retention – what can organizations do to retain their workforce?
  •     Job design – how can healthcare services be made more efficient given limited resources? How best to emphasize issues of safety?
  •     Training – how best to train nurses and the appropriateness and ethical considerations with using student nurses in a crisis?
  •     Leadership – how best to manage in the nursing context and to train future leaders?
  •     Groups and teams – how to develop trust and cohesion in highly dynamic contexts?
  •     Psychological and physical well-being – burnout, stress, and depression
  •     Workplace interventions – what can be done to promote to well-being and resilience?
  •     Workplace harassment – what can be done to reduce workplace hostility?
  •     Work-family issues – how to promote a more balanced workplace?
  •     International and cross cultural issues in nursing
  •     Crisis events – how do these impact the workforce?
  •     Conflict zones – issues surrounding nursing and healthcare in warzones

Submission Process and Timeline:
The submission deadline is by midnight (Central Standard Time) on March 28 2021.

Submissions must adhere to the manuscript format guidelines for  JMP found here; this includes a structured abstract and a manuscript between 5000 and 7500 words, all-inclusive. 

All manuscripts should be submitted through the JMP online submission system ( 

Submissions will undergo a blind peer review process. Acceptance will be based on the following criteria:

  • Theoretical contribution: Does the article meaningfully extend existing theory in the field of managerial psychology as it applies to nursing?
  • Empirical contribution: Does the article offer novel findings derived from appropriate study design and data analysis?
  •  Practical contribution: Does the article present practical implications for improving management practice in the context of nursing?
  •  Relevance: Does the article appropriately align with the special issue topic?

Please direct questions or requests for additional information to the guest editors:
Dr. Peter Harms, [email protected]
Dr. Graham Lowman, [email protected]

Important Dates: 
Paper submission deadline: 28 March 2021
Decision notification: 30th April 2021
Publication: October 2021


Anaza, N. A. (2015). Relations of fit and organizational identification to employee-customer identification. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 30(8), 925-939.

Davidson, P. M., Shattell, M., Nolan, M. T., & D’Aoust, R. Does COVID-19 really call for an overhaul of nursing curricula or promoting the power, status and representation of nursing?  Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Drennan, V. M., Halter, M., Gale, J., & Harris, R. (2016). Retaining nurses in metropolitan areas: insights from senior nurse and human resource managers. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(8), 1041-1048.

Hepburn C. G., & Enns, J. R. (2013). Social undermining and well-being: The role of communal orientation. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(4), 354-366.

Koopman, J., Johnson, R., Wang, M., Lanaj, K., Wang, G., & Shi, J. (2019). A self-regulation perspective on how and when regulatory focus differentially relates to citizenship behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104, 629-641.

Lanyon, R. I., & Goodstein, L. D. (2016). Pre-employment good impression and subsequent job performance. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 31(2), 346-358.

Lee, R. T., Brotheridge, C. M., Hepburn, C. G., & Enns, J. R. (2013). Social undermining and well-being: the role of communal orientation. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(4), 354-366.

Morin, K. H. (2020). Nursing Education After COVID-19: Same or Different? Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Mukhtar, P. S. (2020). Mental Wellbeing of Nursing Staff during the COVID-19 Outbreak: A Cultural Perspective. Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Rosa, W. E., Binagwaho, A., Catton, H., Davis, S., Farmer, P. E., Iro, E., ... & Aiken, L. H. (2020). Rapid Investment in Nursing to Strengthen the Global COVID-19 Response. International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Rosser, E., Westcott, L., Ali, P. A., Bosanquet, J., Castro‐Sanchez, E., Dewing, J., ... & Witham, G. (2020). The Need for Visible Nursing Leadership During COVID-19. Journal of Nursing Scholarship.

Russo, M., & Buonocore, F. (2012). The relationship between work-family enrichment and nurse turnover. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 27(3), 216-236.

Russo, M., Buonocore, F., & Ferrara, M. (2015). Motivational mechanisms influencing error reporting among nurses. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 30(2), 118-132.

Woolnough, H., Fielden, S., Crozier, S., & Hunt, C. (2019). A longitudinal investigation of the glass-ceiling in nursing. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 34(2), 96-109.

World Health Organization. (2020a). State of the world's nursing 2020: investing in education, jobs and leadership.

World Health Organization. (2020b). The year of the nurse and midwife. Retrieved from -and-themidwife-2020

Wu, H., Wang, X., & Chen, P. (2019). Coping with customer mistreatment Joining job routinization and proactive personality. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 34(8), 519-532.

Zhu, R., Wang, Y., Wu, R., Meng, X., Han, S., & Duan, Z. (2020). Trends in high-impact papers in nursing research published from 2008 to 2018: A web of science-based bibliometric analysis. Journal of Nursing Management, 28(5), 1041-1052.