Nurses are some of the most in-demand and well-respected workers around the world today. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the work that nurses do on a daily basis and made it clear to the general public just how important they are. However, along with the need for nurses to provide front-line care to patients, the healthcare industry is also in need of nurses in leadership positions. Nurse leaders in a range of careers provide the healthcare industry with the strong, patient-centered and compassionate leadership that it is in need of. And there are leadership positions available for nurses in a variety of settings including hospitals and clinics, professional organizations, community boards and more. Nurse leaders are having a growing impact on healthcare policy and have the ability to make positive changes for patients. If you’re currently a registered nurse, here are some of the top reasons to consider leadership.
Break Down Barriers
Despite being a highly skilled and professional career, nursing is still very often viewed as a blue-collar profession. Even though there are several different levels of training and education available to nurses right up to a Doctor of Nursing practice degree like the doctor of nursing practice programs from Baylor University, this is still not very widely known to people who do not know a lot about the nursing career path. No matter what role they are in or the education that they have undergone to get there, many people still view nurses as all working the same job. Nurses are sadly not often seen as key decision makers and leaders in healthcare today, and more nurses in leadership positions will help break down these barriers.
More Study Options
In the past, many nurses were unable to get a master’s degree or study any further while working as a nurse because doing so was often very difficult or even impossible. Nurses often had to work their way up on the job and find leadership positions based on their experience rather than their education and experience combined. Today, however, online study has made it easier for nurses at every level to continue their education and put themselves in with a better chance of furthering their career with an advanced degree. The ability to study from home and design their own study schedule means that nurses do not need to worry about taking time off work to eventually further their career.
Nurses tend to be a great fit for a wide range of leadership positions due to the skills that they will possess. Nurses tend to be better at looking at the big picture in a holistic manner, making them excellent problem-solvers. They are also no stranger to working well under pressure and making heavy decisions with very little time to think it through. Collaboration is something that they are very used to and they already have a lot of the skills that any good leader will need such as empathy, compassion, and strong communication skills.
Career Progression Options
Leadership roles give nurses the opportunity to take their careers even further, but it does not stop there. Within the world of nurse leadership itself there are several opportunities for nurses to take their careers even further, for example, starting out leading a team of professionals on a certain ward or department, and working up to managing an entire hospital or clinic. In addition, the qualifications that are often required for nurses to get in order to become nurse leaders can help these professionals get into a wide range of further nursing roles. For example, with a doctor of nursing practice degree, you are qualified to get into teaching the next generation of nurses in colleges, universities and nursing schools around the country – and a lack of good nurse educators is currently one of the main factors behind the worrying nursing shortage today, so you can be sure of high demand for this role.
Not all leadership roles in nursing involve working in an office job. There are also clinical roles available such as that of the nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare system as the country deals with a shortage of primary care physicians and nurse practitioners are brought in to fill this gap. If you want to move into a leadership position as a nurse but do not want to give up your time working directly with patients, this could be the ideal role for you. In many states, nurse practitioners are permitted to work independently without the supervision of a primary care physician. They are able to diagnose and treat patients and can be often seen managing clinics and other healthcare environments.
The increasing demand for nurses at every level is another reason to consider getting into a nurse leadership career. The US is currently dealing with not only a shortage of nurses, but also a lack of advanced healthcare professionals including doctors, who would commonly be the most likely professional seen in leadership positions, including running doctor’s offices, healthcare clinics and other medical settings. This shortage has created a high demand for advanced nurses to step in and fill the gap created by the lack of primary care doctors. In addition, as more and more nurses move into advanced leadership positions, it’s becoming clear to see that they are the professionals who have the most positive impact on patient care outcomes. With nurses in charge, patients are experiencing faster recovery times, lower readmission rates, less fatalities and more. Patients who are under the care of an advanced practice nurse or nurse leader will often report being highly satisfied with the level of care that they receive.
If you are currently a nurse and want to take your career in a different direction, there are many reasons why it’s worth considering nurse leadership roles. For nurses, these roles offer an opportunity for career progression and the chance to have a bigger impact on the healthcare industry.