The Health Management Academy Solves for Nurse Manager Overload to Measure Span-of-Control Across 20 Domains

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Health Management Academy’s Nursing Catalyst team has unveiled a new tool focused on measuring nurse manager span-of-control to help alleviate the untenable workload carried by frontline leaders – who are critical in driving favorable staff and patient outcomes. Nursing Catalyst researchers found nurse managers to be particularly overworked before the pandemic due to the evolving scope of the role, now often working upwards of 50-60 hours a week due to increasing frontline demands.

The Nursing Catalyst Span-of-Control Tool for Frontline Clinical Leaders has received support from the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL), which agrees nurse managers are critical for driving workforce stabilization and patient outcomes.

[Approved by AONL]”Nursing Catalyst is leading important work that directly addresses the need to ensure all nurse managers have the chance to weigh in on the areas in which additional unit support and investment are needed. We are enthusiastic about our partnership with The Health Management Academy’s Nursing Catalyst program to push this important topic forward,” said Robyn Begley DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN Chief Executive Officer, AONL Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, American Hospital Association.

The Health Management Academy created the Span-of-Control Tool for Frontline Clinical Leaders to help nurse executives assess the total scope of responsibility for leaders overseeing inpatient areas of service. The tool, adapted from The Ottawa Hospital’s 2005 validated tool, measures the relative impact of 20 variables that affect manager workload and evaluates whether manager span-of-control is appropriate.

“My team, much like AONL, has been talking about nurse manager workload for a long time. Nurse managers are the linchpin to patient and staff outcomes and have spans-of-control that make driving these outcomes a tremendous feat. Changing unit leadership structures begins with understanding the total amount of work on managers’ plates. That’s where our new Span-of-Control Tool for Frontline Clinical Leaders comes into play, and we are grateful for AONL’s ongoing support to help us create national benchmarking data so nurse leaders can make data-driven decisions in unit leadership investments,” said Anne Herleth, Managing Director, Nursing Catalyst.

Nurse leaders know it is a challenge to make informed investment decisions based on headcount alone. The Span-of-Control Tool for Frontline Clinical Leaders will equip nurse leaders who participate in the survey with overall findings to inform additional unit investments and to rescope the nurse manager role to help address overload. Members of Nursing Catalyst will benefit from system-specific reports in addition to the overall results.

The Nursing Catalyst Span-of-Control Tool for Frontline Clinical Leaders is administered as an online survey that takes 15 minutes for nurse managers to complete and data collection is now open to health system nurse managers through December 1, 2023. Nurse leaders interested in participating in the survey can learn more by visiting

The Nursing Catalyst program is comprised of health system Chief Nurse Executives, site Chief Nursing Officers, and nurse managers, with a shared goal of addressing the biggest challenges to the nursing enterprise through collective problem-solving. Based on The Health Management Academy’s proven track record of engaging nurses at all levels of leadership, the Nursing Catalyst program accelerates innovation by supporting nurse leaders as they pilot innovations in their own units, and by providing executive-level research and idea-sharing to develop disruptive solutions to nursing enterprise challenges.

For more information, please contact: Anne Herleth, Managing Director, Nursing Catalyst

Since 1998, The Health Management Academy has cultivated the premier community of healthcare’s most influential changemakers from the top U.S. health systems and innovative industry partners. We power more than 2,000 health system senior executives and 200 industry organizations through exceptional peer groups, original market insights, world-class leadership development programs and novel member alliances. Our industry-leading programs and solutions enable members to facilitate meaningful relationships, navigate strategic transformation and address critical industry issues. To learn more, visit and follow The Health Management Academy on LinkedIn.  

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SOURCE The Health Management Academy