Nurses who are capable of developing their competencies appropriately in the field of management are considered fundamental to the sustainability and improvement of health outcomes. These core competencies are the critical competencies to be developed in specific areas. There are different core competencies for nurse managers, but none in the Spanish health system. The objective of this research is to identify the core competencies needed for nurse managers in the Spanish health system. The research was carried out using the Delphi method to reach a consensus on the core competencies and a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to determine construct validity, reducing the dimensionality of a dataset by finding the causes of variability in the set and organizing them by importance. A panel of 50 experts in management and healthcare engaged in a four-round Delphi study with Likert scored surveys. We identified eight core competencies from an initial list of 51: decision making, relationship management, communication skills, listening, Leadership, conflict management, ethical principles, collaboration and team management skills. PCA indicated the structural validity of the core competencies by saturation into three components (α Cronbach >0.613): communication, leadership and decision making. The research shows that eight competencies must be developed by the nursing managers in the Spanish health system. Nurse managers can use these core competencies as criteria to develop and plan their professional career. These core competencies can serve as a guideline for the design of nurse managers’ development programs in Spain.
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