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A nursing leadership project for directors of nursing (DONs) in China was implemented by the Ministry of Health, Peking Union Medical College, School of Nursing; Chinese Nurses' Association and University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing.The aims were: (1) to establish a leadership project, (2) to survey DONs on the perceived importance of role competencies, and (3) to develop an education program.A survey was completed by the DONs on the importance of role competencies related to the forces of magnetism. The DONs rated their job satisfaction. Four leadership educational modules were developed.The 28-item survey was completed by 208 (68%) DONs from public tertiary hospitals who rated each item on a six-point Likert scale. The mean scores of the items ranged from 4.29 [standard deviation (SD) 1.21] to 5.66 (SD 0.70), suggesting they felt that most were very important. DONs who reported higher job satisfaction perceived two dimensions of the forces (structural empowerment and exemplary professional practice) as significantly more important than those with lower job satisfaction. The greatest work challenge reported was shortage of nurses. The four educational modules were pilot tested with ten DONs in Beijing and they provided positive feedback.The DONs perceived that the forces of magnetism competencies were important to their work settings in China. The modules were positively received and plans are underway to develop a train-the-trainer program.While the instrument was developed for this study, the validity and reliability were demonstrated.