As the healthcare industry shifts from volume to value, the role of nurse leaders in the workforce is rapidly evolving. However, quality leadership skills never go out of style. So, what does it take to be an outstanding nurse manager? Medical Solutions’ Clinical Nurse Manager Natalie O., BSN, RN, shares her top 5 successful nurse manager traits below:
- Clinical expert and savvy business professional: Great nurse managers quickly learn to wear many hats. That’s because they must constantly balance business decisions with their unit’s clinical needs. In today’s ever-evolving healthcare system, it is no longer enough to simply make sure the nursing department is properly staffed. Effective nurse managers also implement cost-controlling measures and process efficiencies to ensure their unit runs smoothly.
- Strategic decision-maker and conflict manager: A skilled nurse manager must also balance short-term needs with long-term goals. Likewise, the nursing staff will look to their manager to address conflicts as they arise. Confrontations are never easy, but a nurse manager who ignores a problem will only sow discontent among his or her staff. Conversely, a nurse manager who handles an issue with open and honest communication will always be appreciated. Most hospital administrators agree that a nurse manager’s ability to make effective decisions is crucial to the success of the unit.
- Strong communicator: The decisions and choices a nurse manager must make are not always easy or popular. A successful nurse manager recognizes the need to explain the rationale behind these decisions to their staff when necessary. Active listening skills are also an essential part of effective communication. Frontline staff will respect a nurse manager who can listen to their needs and work with them to achieve their goals.
- Motivational leader: A great nurse manager inspires their staff to perform at their best. Often, a nurse manager is tasked with building an empowering culture by mentoring younger nurses and supporting collaboration between nurses and other members of the hospital staff. Moreover, successful nurse managers do not bully or tolerate bullying from others. They know that fostering a healthy work environment can positively affect not only patient care outcomes, but also nurse staff recruitment, retention and engagement efforts.
- Adaptive game changer: An active nurse manager knows that sometimes life just happens. That’s why they must be able to adjust staffing or care decisions in response to changing needs. For example, a member of the team might need to change shifts with another nurse to accommodate a special family gathering, like a wedding or birthday. Exceptional leaders inspire confidence when they show understanding and compassion for their staff.
Do you have a nurse manager who embodies these leadership qualities? What would you add to this list?