Nurse Leaders: The Next Generation

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , October 19, 2010

2. Assess skills: As you identify staff who have leadership potential, assess their skills so you can build on strong skills and identify weak areas. For example, most nurses do not have a background in finance. Help them build their acumen with budgeting and financial issues.

3. Build on skills: Provide training sessions and action learning projects that are multidisciplinary to help them build strategic relationships with other people in the organization. Find them a mentor, maybe someone who is outside nursing and can provide a different perspective.

As staff progress, notice what they are doing and recognize their success. Provide feedback on their new skills or behavior and the effect it has on the organization. Focusing on succession planning will have nurses ready and excited about leadership and with expanded opportunities to make a difference.

Also See:
Doctor shortage looming? Use nurses, US report says

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at
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3 comments on "Nurse Leaders: The Next Generation"

Daria Byrne, MSN, RN (10/26/2010 at 2:29 PM)
Evaluating and educating nursing leaders needs to continue past the bedside and into the academic arena as well. In today's curriculum, specifically ADN programs, there is very little leadership theory taught. Because of this, it needs to be the responsibility of the organization to identify nurses who exemplify the desire and the will to advance their career in a leadership capacity, all the while keeping in mind that those who may desire to be a leader, may not be the best person to drive the organization into the future.

Betty Noyes (10/25/2010 at 1:22 PM)
This is certainly a fact. But the same need for succession planning at the manager levels holds true for EVERY department. Nursing is not unique in this issue of concern!

Donald Wood (10/22/2010 at 6:38 PM)
Any organization worthy of the name needs to be continually grooming people to move up in the ranks of responsibility. Nursing has long looked at people to see how well they are doing in their current job (bedside nurse for example) and then promote them to a job with the need for a different skill set. Result - a person who struggles with the new position and becomes overwhelmed and request to go back to their previous assignment. Being a nurse for 37 years, I have seen this countless times. We need to start teaching practical leadership to all nurses. They can hone their skills by leading patients and families to better health. It becomes a win-win situation for everyone.




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