Just like in any other field of work, leaders in the nursing sector must also possess certain unique skills and characteristics in order to assume important roles and be successful as a HOD, nursing director, or head nurse. Given that we are talking about professionals who are already working as a nurse, there is little point in discussing the medical aspect of the job. Therefore, we are going to concentrate on the administrative and managerial skills which aspiring leaders in the nursing community will need if they really want to climb further up the hierarchy.
Expertise in Applicable Technology
To make the connection more obvious, let’s go through a few key reasons and practical applications next, which should clarify why tech expertise is indeed important for nursing managers and administrators today:
- Healthcare is mostly managed and administrated via a range of software resources and services these days
- The use of software tools and platforms is not optional in nursing; no aspiring leader can possibly ignore them today
- As a healthcare administrator, designing & implementation of EHR policies would be impossible without knowing the basics about them
- Without proper knowledge & understanding of improvements in nursing tech, it would be difficult to keep the facility updated
Decision Making is an Extremely Important Skill for Any Leader
Unless you have actually been in a leadership position where you have had to take extremely important and equally difficult decisions within a very short amount of time, being a leader in any field of business is going to prove difficult. However, when it comes to handling emergencies in the medical profession, the bars are much higher than anywhere else, given that lives depend on them.
To form an idea regarding the kind of difficulties which nursing heads, policymakers, and directors must tackle on a regular basis, the following should be helpful:
- Recruitment decisions
- The decision to let go of an employee
- Planning and setting the annual budget
- Downsizing if and as necessary
- Upgrading and expanding when ready
- Forming policies for improving the current quality of patient care
- Implementation of those policies via legal and authoritative means, within the department/facility under them
- Making on the spot, quick judgment calls that may or may not save a life
- Deciding on strategies to keep the facility/department free from legal violations
- Taking decisions in favor of calculated risks to mitigate a larger problem
- Making decisions that would seldom get unanimous support from the department
If some of that sounded familiar but scary, then that’s perfectly understandable and natural. While a nurse do work in emergency conditions often by default, taking up a more administrative role is different. After all, the decisions they take then begin to affect multiple patients and employees in numerous ways.
This is exactly why an accredited BSN to MSN online program in Leadership & Innovation is perfect for experienced nurses who are looking to take up leadership roles. It’s a program which has been specifically designed to help a nurse gain every bit of the advanced administrative and managerial skills they will need to become successful, compassionate and decisive leaders in this complicated field of modern healthcare.
Prioritization is actually a part of decision making as well. However, there is a difference between prioritization as a normal business decision, and setting priorities in a dynamic manner when you are in charge of making life and death decisions.
Completing a BSN to MSN online program in leadership will also help you prepare for that, but here’s a brief look at some of the factors which nursing heads and directors often have to deal with while setting priority numbers on tasks and goals:
- Setting priorities in policies for patient treatment and care options
- Scheduling steps for emergency handling, in accordance with the specific urgent medical situation
- Prioritizing safety measures in a way that improves patient and employee safety
- Setting high minimum standards for quality, to balance finances and patient-care intelligently
- Prioritizing administrative and business decisions in the right order to ensure growth
Diplomatic and Soft Skills
You are no longer going to be involved in nursing duties on a regular basis when you become a director. Instead, you will have to be more concerned with the following political aspects of the healthcare industry:
- Diplomacy, neutrality, and integrity are crucial aspects of being a healthcare leader
- Forming lobbies with important political figures will be important to bring about major policy changes
- The smoothness of interdepartmental collaborations is often determined by the diplomatic skills of their respective heads
- Soft skills are essential for building important business and political relationships
- To lead a team, you must at first know how to build one by connecting individual employees to the concept
- Ability to read others and communicate one’s own ideas freely is essential for maintaining healthy worker-manager relationships
- Even nursing leaders need to have the favor of their patients; that’s why nurses are needed in the first place
- Every leader is, by default, a model figure; maintain your integrity and image
- Compassion and emotional intelligence is key to forming bonds everywhere
When you leave direct care and join the upper ranks as an administrative head, there will be a lot of benefits, boosted pay and better career opportunities obviously, but it too can be a difficult job to handle. It’s certainly less stressful than being an ER nurse who tries to save lives every day for 12-hours straight, but when every decision you take holds you responsible for them and begins to affect those under your charge, things can get quite challenging to deal with.
The best way to prepare would be to learn what you can from your clinical experience and hone that knowledge by spearheading your higher education towards nursing leadership.
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