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AONL-F ALSN Delphi Study

Nurse researchers have made significant contributions in advancing our understanding of the work environment, staffing issues, care delivery models, and practice innovations. To continue to advance research in nursing leadership science, the Association for Leadership Science in Nursing (ALSN) and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership –Foundation (AONL-F) collaborated on a national Delphi study. The aims of the study were to reach consensus on nursing administration and leadership research priority areas, elucidate challenges and barriers to nursing leadership research, and develop a nursing leadership research agenda for 2020 and beyond.

Researchers conducted a 3-phase Delphi study with national experts, ALSN members, and AONL members1. Six priority areas for nursing administration and leadership science were identified:

  1. nurses’ health, well-being, resiliency, and safety in the workplace;
  2. developing and managing a nursing workforce to meet current and future healthcare needs;
  3. healthy work and practice environments for direct care nurses;
  4. healthy work and practice environments for nurse leaders;
  5. quantification of nursing’s value across the health care delivery system; and
  6. nurse leaders’ development and essential competencies

Participants also were asked to comment on key areas where nurse leaders lacked evidence to guide general leadership practices. Key areas included: quantifying the impact of nursing service, staffing models for point of care services, and nursing leadership development2. Participants identified needs specific to leading during a pandemic: organizational leadership preparation, adaptative leadership during crisis, innovation in care delivery and health, and well-being and resiliency3.

Findings from this collaborative Delphi study have been jointly adopted by ALSN and AONL-F to guide research funding and study efforts.


  1. Chipps EM, Joseph ML, Alexander C, et al. Setting the research agenda for nursing administration and leadership science: A Delphi study. J. Nurs. Adm. 2021;51(9):430-438.
  2. Hand MW, Alexander C, Lyman B, Parchment J, Joseph ML, Chipps E. Filling the knowledge gap for nurse leaders: Next steps following covid-19. Nurse Leader. 2021.
  3. Joseph ML, Nelson-Brantley HV, Alexander C, et al. Building the science to guide nursing administration and leadership decision making. J. Nurs. Adm. 2022;52(1):19-26.

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