Nurses engage in both emerging and advanced leadership roles

Several recent studies by AMN Healthcare demonstrate the commitment nurses are making in their careers by pursuing education.

The Survey of Registered Nurses showed that nearly three-quarters of nurses responding to the survey said they were aware of new and emerging roles for nurses, and more than 60% said that they would enter a training program for these roles. The study also showed that among younger nurses, more than three-quarters plan to pursue a higher degree in the next three years.

The survey data on those currently seeking or considering a degree in advanced practice nursing are fairly astounding – one in five nurses. And, among nurses younger than 40, more than one in three want to become a nurse practitioner or enter another advanced role.

The AMN Healthcare Emerging Roles in Healthcare study found that the demand is growing for new nursing roles such as care coordinators and navigators.

Another area of transition for nurses is into clinical leadership positions and executive leadership roles such as Chief Nursing Officer or CNO. The CNO turnover has been increasing as a result of mergers, acquisitions and retirements of current senior nursing leaders. Leadership development at all levels, starting with charge nurses, is critical to assure there is an adequate pipeline of future nurses. As healthcare delivery has become more complex, and maintaining excellence in patient care has become imperative, the impetus for nurses to enter leadership has grown.

But competency at the bedside or in the operating and recovery suite does not necessarily translate into leadership acumen. Registered nurses who are inclined to enter leadership need to embrace a leadership develop plan.

Since a bachelor's degree in nursing has become expected at the staff nurse level more advanced degrees are being required for leaders in managers and directors roles. Many organizations require master's degree for director level positions and doctoral level education is becoming more preferred for CNO positions.

There also is a voluntary national certification in nursing management. And, since nurse leaders are often central to decision-making on selection, implementation and upgrading information systems, IT knowledge and skill should be enhanced.

Formal leadership development programs and mentorship programs provided by experienced leaders can assist nurses who are or aspire to transition a leadership role. Additionally mentoring support early career leaders work through the daily challenges they now face is very valuable.

Some key leadership competencies that need to be developed include: relationship-building, influence, conflict management and how to get their work done through others.

These and other leadership skills must be developed to ensure success when a nurse moves from bedside to leadership. AMN Healthcare offers The CNO Academy, a three-day intensive nurse leadership immersion program to facilitate a smooth integration or transition into a senior nurse executive role.

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