Original Research

Financial management roles of nurse managers in selected public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa

Nellie Naranjee, Thembelihle S.P. Ngxongo, Maureen N. Sibiya
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1981 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1981 | © 2019 Nellie Naranjee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2018 | Published: 18 September 2019

About the author(s)

Nellie Naranjee, KwaZulu Natal College of Nursing, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, South Africa; and, Department of Nursing, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Thembelihle S.P. Ngxongo, Department of Nursing, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Maureen N. Sibiya, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Background: The public health sector in South Africa has been facing severe financial cutbacks and financial constraints in recent times. The nurse manager (NM) is faced with the task of managing and reducing expenditure in the nursing sector without compromising the quality care. This requires skills and understanding of financial management.

Aim: This study aimed to explore the financial management roles of NMs and to identify financial management development needs necessary for NMs’ practice.

Setting: The study was conducted in KwaZulu-Natal. A total of eight hospitals from the five health districts were included.

Methods: The study used the naturalistic paradigm with a constructivist grounded theory approach. Interviews were used to initially gather data from six NMs who were purposively selected. Theoretical sampling was used to further recruit financial managers, chief executive officers, assistant nurse managers and operational managers. The final sample consisted of 18 participants.

Results: Financial management of the hospitals is the primary function of the financial managers and the chief executive officers. However, the role of NMs extends to the performance and participation in various activities relating to the financial functioning of the hospital. These include financial planning, financial monitoring, financial decision-making and financial control.

Conclusion: Nurse managers have a financial management function in public health care organisations but lack the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies to function in this role and require additional training. Recommendations included that a competency framework be developed to improve the financial management competencies of NMs.


Competency; Financial management framework; Nurse manager; Public hospitals; Constructivist grounded theory; Naturalistic paradigm


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