4 must-haves for aspiring nurse leaders

Amid a time of rapid change for the healthcare industry, the face of healthcare leadership is changing as well, with more nurses and doctors in the C-suite. Nurse leaders in particular are ideally positioned to improve patient outcomes, but to make it to the top, nurses must use several key strategies and skills.

In the journey from bedside to boardroom, future nurse leaders must:

  • Search for a mentor: Nurses can learn about general leadership qualities outside of nursing and outside healthcare in general, Amy Cotton, R.N., vice president of patient engagement and CXO at EMHS in Brewer, Maine, and Michelle Conley, R.N., chief nursing officer at Aria Health in Philadelphia, told Becker's Hospital Review.
  • Obtain more education: Nurses must consider going above and beyond a BSN to rise in the ranks, Conley and Cotton told Becker's. For example, in addition to her nursing degree, Conley earned an MBA and a certification in Executive Nursing Practice.
  • Develop a strategy: Nurse and physician leaders must understand the level of prioritization and sometimes sacrifice involved in a leadership position, FierceHealthcare previously reported, since proceeding with one strategy means putting the others on the backburner or doing without them entirely.
  • Learn to lead: Nurses must learn how to apply abstract leadership skills to actual practice, FierceHealthcare previously reported. A nurse may have all the makings of a good leader, for example, but must learn how to fire someone. It's not easy. Most nurses have spent their careers doing work that emphasizes compassion and comfort so making difficult management decisions can be a tough transition.

To learn more:
- read the Becker's article