Healthcare systems, including hospitals and medical centers, recognize the vital role nurse managers play in achieving organizational goals and positive patient outcomes. To help nurse managers reach their fullest potential, healthcare organizations are investing in nurse manager training and development more than ever before.
In the past, registered nurses (RNs) who had strong clinical skills were chosen to be managers without adequate training and skills development, Ronda J. McKay, DNP, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Community Hospital in Munster, IN, told HealthLeaders. Today, leaders realize that nurse managers are essential to improving outcomes in value-based care environments, so training and skills are vital.
“[Nurse managers] are critical to the mission of the organization and meeting the strategic initiative at that point-of-care service. We need to make sure that they’re competent to do the job that they’re put in charge to do,” McKay said in “Investing in Nurse Manager Development Pays Off.” “It’s really about how we are orchestrating to train these nurses to be agents of administration, to be fiscally responsible, to understand what the strategic mission and values of the organization are and to follow those.”
Indeed, RNs who have earned Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees, including through online DNP programs, and are working in leadership positions understand more than anyone else why nurse manager training is necessary. DNP-educated nurses hold executive positions with the authority and power to provide opportunities for managers to flourish.
Importance of Nurse Manager Development
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), nurse managers impact a unit’s culture and ability to change. They support patient and staff safety, or what the AHRQ calls a Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP).
“Nurse managers are change agents on their unit. They work with staff to initiate new policies and procedures that help the unit team achieve their quality improvement goals and sustain their CUSP efforts. Nurse managers lead their unit staff in preventing patient harm in their unit, empowering nurses to be the first line of defense against patient harm,” the AHRQ said in its CUSP toolkit.
The AHRQ said the nurse manager’s role is multifaceted, so extensive leadership training is needed. Some of the nurse manager’s responsibilities include:
Nurse managers are responsible for hiring, training and firing staff nurses, so they must work closely with human resources.
Providing professional development
Nurse managers should be alert to professional development opportunities on their unit and follow through with training options.
Maintaining customer-focused care
Nurse managers should ensure that all patient needs are met while delivering quality care.
Overseeing financial aspects
Nurse managers oversee all the finances of their unit to ensure expenses stay within budget. Expenses include staff salaries, supplies, operation costs and equipment.
Aligning the unit with hospital strategic goals
Nurse managers make sure staff members understand the institution’s goals and encourage the staff to participate in initiatives and projects.
Tips for Nurse Manager Development
The authors of the Nurse Manager’s Guide to Retention and Recruitment said nurse managers have one of the toughest jobs in nursing, so they deserve support for success. Many employers (such as hospitals and medical centers), as well as professional organizations (such as the American Nurses Association [ANA]) and the American Organization of Nurse Executives [AONE]), offer formal leadership training programs as guidance.
The authors of the Nurse Manager’s Guide to Retention and Recruitment – June Marshall, DNP; Cole Edmonson, DNP; and Victoria England, BSN – stated leaders should also establish other programs that can foster nurse manager growth, including:
One-on-one mentorships help nurse managers as they ease into and grow in their positions. A manager’s needs change over time, and so should the network of colleagues who can help.
Reflective learning environments
Reflective learning allows nurse managers to solve problems through careful consideration and peer support. Nurse managers use critical thinking skills to develop creative solutions.
The guide’s authors also stated that nurse manager competencies are crucial to individual and unit success.
“Nurse managers also have greater ability to engage their teams in problem-solving, decision-making, and accountability for unit outcomes, if they personally demonstrate confidence and competence in their leadership roles, or in other words, lead by example,” the authors wrote.
Providing Nurse Manager Training and Development
As top executives in healthcare, DNP-educated RNs are often responsible for overseeing an entire nursing staff at a hospital or medical center. In that role, nurse executives need dependable nurse managers. Through training and development, nurse managers can tackle even the most difficult situations.
RNs considering a career as an executive who oversees nurse managers should seek a DNP program, including an online DNP program, with a curriculum that focuses on leadership skills. At Duquesne University, RNs pursuing a DNP take coursework in preparation for evidence-based leadership practices.
About Duquesne University’s Online DNP Program
Duquesne University’s online DNP program prepares RNs to lead nurse managers by providing superior training and creating a positive workplace culture. The doctoral education also prepares DNP students the option to focus on one of three areas of study: Transcultural Nursing, Forensic Nursing or Nursing Education.
Duquesne University has been recognized as a leader in nursing education, most recently as a “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs” by U.S. News & World Report. The online DNP program provides one-on-one faculty mentorships and a 100% online curriculum. For more information, contact Duquesne University now.
Investing in Nurse Manager Development Pays Off: HealthLeaders
CUSP Toolkit, The Role of the Nurse Manager, Facilitator Notes: AHRQ
Nurse Manager’s Guide to Retention and Recruitment: HealthLeaders