Explore the exciting opportunities available in the rapidly expanding world of leadership in nursing. Registered Nurses who are seeking additional challenges in the ever-evolving world of healthcare will find an incredible variety of clinical nurse leader positions in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Where the Jobs Are
Many clinical nursing leadership positions are in hospitals. However, with the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), healthcare is gradually moving from hospital-centered to community-based. In February 2014, a nonprofit healthcare research center found that hospitals had lost 1,200 jobs nationwide while ambulatory care services had gained 8,400. This move to outpatient care centers contributes to a growing number of new and different leadership roles for nurses.
Leading into the Future
Join the increasingly important field of nursing leadership where you can make a difference in so many ways. There is growing recognition and evidence that the healthy work environment nurtured by strong leadership can make a huge difference in staff satisfaction, retention, overall organizational performance and improved patient outcomes. Today’s nurse managers meet incredible and rewarding challenges every day in frontline staff work and wherever patient care is delivered, in both in-patient and out-patient areas working as charge nurses, unit facilitators and clinical nurse managers.
What It Takes
Traditionally, nursing leaders were simply chosen based on technical and clinical proficiency. Today, however, much attention is being paid to what makes a good leader, and there are many programs available for nurturing the strong leaders needed to take healthcare through these rapidly changing times.
Where Would You Work?
Care coordinators are needed in every healthcare environment, from hospitals to nursing homes, and coordinators serving entire communities can help bring about large-scale improvements. One of the hottest new leadership positions is informatics specialist where nurses work with pharmacy, physicians and information systems departments to develop and implement new software and applications.
As a nurse leader, you are responsible not only for your own staff but for interactions within the organization with various departments involving both direct and indirect patient care, including doctors, social workers and pharmacists. An effective leader will lead by example and will need to earn the respect of the staff while giving his or her team the tools and confidence to be successful.
Do You Have Leadership Qualities?
Strong, effective leaders have many qualities in common. To be a respected leader you need to demonstrate self-confidence, be able to empower others and have top-notch communications skills. As a nursing leader, you’ll need to be able to manage relationships among staff, encourage strong team work and be able to meditate conflicts. Workshops, certification programs and class work can help nurses learn to develop these important qualities.
Become a Leader
If you are an RN excited at the possibility of getting into a leadership role, look for opportunities at your organization. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) will provide you with a good educational foundation. Advanced courses in clinical assessment, pharmacology and pathophysiology will get you ready to pass the clinical nurse leadership exam administered by the Commission on Nurse Certifications.