There is no doubt that the healthcare sector is one of the most important around and crucial for not only keeping us fit and healthy but also for creating jobs. Healthcare will always remain central to the general economy and a popular career choice for many individuals. Although standard nursing roles are careers that appeal to a lot of people, moving into a nursing leadership role is also attractive to those interested in this career path.
What can you expect from a nursing leadership role, and why are these roles so essential to the healthcare sector?
Expect to study to move into nursing leadership
If you wish to advance into a leadership position in nursing, you will need to study for it. Although you may have already qualified to work as a nurse in the past, most leadership roles will require additional executive-level qualifications.
With this in mind, you should be prepared to find and complete a relevant academic course in this field. DNP nursing leadership courses are a great example of the type of program that can prepare you for leadership roles. Many of these programs can be completed online, making them convenient for those with work or family commitments.
Be prepared to make a difference and feel fulfilled
It is a good idea to learn more about the demands of nursing leadership roles before moving into this field.
Once you have gained the executive-level qualifications you need, you can expect to make a real difference to the healthcare industry in this role. This could be mainly within your own team or across the healthcare institution you work for in a more general sense. Any major changes you drive forward may even be taken up across healthcare on a regional or nationwide basis.
The very nature of leadership roles in nursing means you will be working at a strategic level to make a difference in the service your department or healthcare setting offers. This will improve the service that patients receive as well as the working conditions of your colleagues. Your ability to drive positive change as a nursing leader can make this role very rewarding on a personal level.
Expect to propel your career forward in exciting new directions
Anyone who is considering moving into nursing leadership roles should be prepared to take their career up a notch. These roles are considered executive positions and will see you moving up the career ladder as a result.
This is reflected in the average salary for a Nurse Executive, which is currently around $133,000. Average salaries like this represent a step up from roles like Nurse Practitioners and acknowledge the fact that leadership roles require a higher level of competence.
Making the decision to move into leadership roles in nursing can also expand your career horizons and open up a raft of new opportunities. This is because the skills you learn when becoming a leader in nursing can be used across healthcare in general and are also transferable to other industries in many cases.
Be prepared to lead and deal with senior colleagues
This might sound like an obvious point, but you should certainly be prepared to step up and lead in these types of roles. For example, you may be looking after a team of people as a nursing leader or be placed in charge of a whole department. This requires you to have the confidence and people skills needed to lead those you are managing. It also means you need excellent written and verbal communication skills.
If you do not feel you have the skills to lead effectively yet, get ready to brush up on them in advance and develop them to the required level.
It is also important to expect any leadership position to involve liaising with more senior healthcare colleagues. This could be within your own work environment, or you may need to reach out to external senior figures in healthcare while working on a project. These roles may also require you to present your ideas to senior staff and confidently explain your findings to them.
Expect to be less hands-on as a nurse
Another change to get ready for when moving into a more executive-level nursing leader’s role is being less hands-on with patients each day. This is a big change from working in a standard nursing role. As a leader, you will not be spending your time looking after patients personally and working in hospital wards.
It is more likely that you will be office-based and spend most of your time looking at data, attending meetings, dealing with cost control, managing staff, and creating structures to promote excellence in your professional environment. You must think about this before moving into leadership and ensure it is right for you.
Why are nursing leadership roles so important in healthcare?
Leaders are needed to manage the nurses under them and make sure they give patients the best care possible. In addition, nursing leaders ensure relevant standards for care are enforced and that healthcare staff members are following the right guidelines. People in nursing leadership positions also serve as someone staff can turn to for advice or help when required.
Leadership roles in nursing are also vital because they help to drive change, stimulate innovation in nursing, and deliver strategies for long-term growth in healthcare. Because they are removed from the day-to-day care of patients, nursing leaders have the time to take a deep look at data and draw key insights from it. This enables leaders to produce a strategic plan to drive up standards and develop professional excellence among staff.
Good leaders are vital for effective nursing
There is no doubt that leaders play a critical role in the nursing profession. Without these executive-level roles in healthcare environments, there would be no one for staff to turn to for advice, no one driving innovations in patient care, and no one taking a strategic view of the industry to move it forward.