Prepare for Nurse Leadership and Management

Prepare for Nurse Leadership and Management

RN to BSN programs prepare nurses for leadership as nurse managers. This vital position is responsible for guiding a staff of nurses and contributing to an institution’s mandate to deliver consistent, quality healthcare.

What Does a Nurse Leader Do?

To excel in this position, nurse leaders or managers must have training to address healthcare trends, adopt effective new practices and collaborate with others. As leaders, nurse managers must be able to oversee frontline nursing operations and make daily decisions to fine-tune staff performance.

Often, nurse managers provide career guidance, aligning their nurses’ objectives with the Institute of Medicine’s mission to see 80 percent of the RN workforce hold a BSN degree by 2020.

The following are some of the specific day-to-day functions of nurse managers:

  • Budget management and reporting.
  • Working with patients and their families.
  • Identifying and maintaining staffing requirements.
  • Monitoring, evaluating and developing team competencies.
  • Collaborating with doctors and other healthcare professionals.
  • Equipment systems and physical structure management.
  • Providing consultation to other healthcare staff.
  • Serving as a liaison between the nursing staff and institution administrators.
  • Developing criteria for and evaluating the effectiveness of the nursing practice.

Why Is a BSN Necessary for Nursing Leadership?

The functions of a nurse manager are so essential to the delivery of effective healthcare that in 2013, the Commission on Magnet set an educational expectation that 100 percent of nurse managers must either have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing at the time of magnet application.

A BSN Develops Required Competencies.

In 2007, the Journal of Nursing Administration reported survey results from interviews with 120 nursing managers in South Florida to determine their perspectives on the basic skills necessary for the position. They identified the following competencies, all of which students develop in an RN to BSN program:

Personal Mastery: This skill involves understanding how one’s actions affect others, as well as being able to objectively evaluate personal mistakes and performance.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: The abilities to communicate, listen and resolve conflicts are crucial, as is having a “visible presence.” Nursing staff need to be able to communicate their individual needs to their leaders.

Human Resource Management: Retention is imperative, given the shortage of qualified nurses. Nurse leaders need to identify what motivates and fulfills the nurses they manage.

Financial Management: The fiscal responsibilities of the position require familiarity with budgeting, allocating resources and presenting financial information.

Caring: Great nursing leaders care for their staff, patients and themselves.

Systems Thinking: Understanding the big picture and how organizational systems interconnect and operate is essential for leadership in an increasingly complex healthcare system.

Complex Healthcare Requires Up-to-Date Expertise.

RN to BSN curriculum bridges the gap between the micro individual skills taught in associate degree programs and the macro leadership skills required by an increasingly complex healthcare system . RN to BSN programs provide leadership training in areas such as policy, finance, collaboration, disease prevention and healthcare reform.

Evidence-Based Practice Improves Patient Outcomes.

Among the reasons why the IOM mandated that 80 percent of nurses hold a BSN by 2020 is the efficacy of evidence-based practice. BSN students train in this discipline, which major studies have demonstrated results in substantially improved patient outcomes, from faster healing rates to dramatically lower mortality rates.

Leaders in healthcare need a high degree of confidence to guide their organizations through inevitable periods of turbulence. At the nurse management level, the RN to BSN curriculum delivers the expertise necessary for confident and optimistic leadership.

Learn more about the Colorado Mesa online RN to BSN program.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Working Statement Comparing the Clinical Nurse Leader and Nurse Manager Roles: Similarities, Differences and Complementarities

American Association of Colleges of Nursing: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice

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