How to Advance Your Nursing Career into Leadership Roles
Being a nurse is hard, it’s fulfilling, and its fluid. Not a single day is the same, but more than that, you can customize your career into a variety of different roles. If you are a natural-born leader and want to do more for people than just care for them, then working towards leadership roles is an absolute must.
Not only will you have more consistent days the higher up the leadership ladder you go, which is excellent for working mothers, you will also have the most significant impact. It is not easy, especially for those who are juggling parenthood and a demanding career, but it is the best for everyone in the long run.
Top Four Nursing Leadership Roles to Work Towards
There are four main top leadership positions that you will want to work towards if you are a leader and want to see a systematic change in your hospital.
1. Chief Nursing Officer or Chief Nursing Executive
For the most control over the quality of care and the support given to your nurses the role that you will want to go for is the Chief Nursing Officer or the Chief Nursing Executive. They are the ones that work with the head of the hospital. The ones who advocate for better working conditions or better patient care. It is a significant role, and it will be hard to achieve this position.
To become a CNO or CNE, you will need to have more than just an MSN. To stand out, you need to prove that you know more than just nursing. You need to be a business leader. There are nursing leadership courses available entirely online that you can take that will help you develop business acumen and gain the necessary leadership skills that can transform hospitals.
DNP-ENLs are the perfect solution if you feel like you have hit a wall in your career. Perfect for working moms, they are offered entirely online so that you can get that high-tier nursing executive job in no time.
2. Head Nurse or Nursing Director
While the CNO is the one who organizes the overall structure of the nursing department, it is the Head Nurse or Nursing Director that organizes the nurses and nursing care standards. If you want to deal with people rather than with numbers, this is the leadership role for you.
3. Patient Care Director
Patient care directors are more common in large hospitals where roles are split up. Essentially as a Patient Care Director, your leadership role won’t be directing nurses but directing the quality and level of care offered to patients. You will be the one who supervises patient care and direct the work of RNs.
4. Nurse Administration Manager
Nurse Administration Managers are those who work as a voice for their fellow nurses. They are the HR advocate for the nursing divisions and the ones that will communicate between departments, plan the nursing roster for staff using a caregiver scheduling app, develop budgets to send on to higher tiers, and generally help set the standards for how the department is run. They will work closely with the Nursing Director.
How to Become a Leader in Your Nursing Career
Knowing what you want can help you direct your efforts. It can also help keep you motivated, no matter how hard it is as a working mom.
1. Excel in Your Roles
Ask for feedback, take it to heart, and try to love your job as much as you can. Some days will be hard, others easy, but if you excel in your job and have a great outlook, people will take notice. They will trust you and provide you with more responsibility over time.
2. Provide Support to Others
You don’t need to wait to gain this responsibility. Support others in your department. If they need help and you aren’t doing anything at the moment or can easily incorporate that task into your workday do it. If they need emotional support, provide it. It is a lot of effort, yes, but that is what leaders do.
The support you provide, however, should never be draining. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of then, you need to put a stop to it. It is a delicate balance. People need to know they can rely on you, but that they cannot push you around. You are already a parent; you don’t need extra children at work overloading your workday.
3. Work to Obtain Leadership Roles at Your Level
There are leadership roles at every level in nursing. Aim to reach those by being the perfect candidate and asking for them. Even if there isn’t an open position just letting your supervisor know you are interested in is essential as it shows you are interested and committed.
Becoming more friendly with your supervisor also never hurts and will mean you are the first one that will come to mind should any opportunities become available.
4. Obtain an MSN (Minimum)
To reach the significant roles that will grant you the ability to make real change for patients, nurses, or both, you will need to obtain an MSN at minimum. This means that if you haven’t already done so, you will want to choose the BSN route to becoming an RN over the degree in Nursing.
Most MSN programs, if not all, will require a BSN and years of experience. Taking online courses will help you easily fulfill all the requirements and allow you to put what you know to good use on the job.
5. Obtain A Graduate Degree
To stand out when job hunting and to better round out your skills, you will want to look to obtain a graduate degree in nursing, health care administration, or in executive nurse leadership.
These degrees are often available entirely online because they don’t teach medicine, but business, management, and even budgeting and finance.
Know your worth, don’t get cocky, and be patient. You may not obtain the position at your own hospital so keep trying to apply to job roles as they come.