|dc.description.abstract||INTRODUCTION: Managing a district hospital ward in the Cameroonian health care system is a challenge for unit managers who are appointed to a managerial position because of their clinical skills, without being trained as managers, and with limited financial, material and human resources.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to describe the first-line nurse managers’ lived experiences in two selected district hospitals in Yaoundé, Cameroon in a work environment as described above.
METHODOLOGY: A constructionist, descriptive Husserlian phenomenological approach was used. The researcher interviewed ten unit managers in two district hospitals. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, then audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The seven-steps of Colaizzi’s qualitative data analysis method were used to find the essence of what it is like to be a unit manager in the selected district hospitals.
FINDINGS: The data analysis revealed that managing a district hospital unit is like “being a mother of a family”. The transition to this role happened by surprise and with no formal training preceding it and includes providing, teaching, controlling, correcting, and planning. This role implies facing difficulties and making some sacrifices. It requires assistance from others and specific characteristics in the role-players.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Health care organizations should foster, support and strengthen the roles of unit managers in Cameroon. They should dedicate financial and material resources to education and training in order for unit managers to acquire the necessary leadership and management skills. Finally, unit managers should be transformational leaders in a context where staff are in need of supervisors who not only facilitate an environment that allows them to be productive, but who also demonstrate their concern for the staff’s well-being as individuals.||en_US