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Chief Nursing Officer (PDF)

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					                                                By Richard Hader




                            Is Being a
Chief Nursing Officer
        in Your Future?
        It is expected that nearly 55 percent of nurse leaders will
        be retiring from their positions within the next decade
        (Hader, Saver and Steltzer, 2006). This will leave a
        tremendous void but it will also mean that outstanding
        leadership opportunities will be within the profession of
        nursing. You may want to consider a career in nursing
        management if inspiring and leading others appeal to you.

        It is never too early to begin planning for a long-term
        career in nursing. If you think you might want to someday
        lead your colleagues or a healthcare organization, the
        time to start planning is when you are a nursing student.

                                              NSNA IMPRINT | www.nsna.org 33
IS BEING      A   CHIEF NURSING OFFICER IN YOUR FUTURE?



What opportunities are                       is patient and family-centered will result         The CNO must ensure the continued
                                             in high patient satisfaction and increase      advancement of the profession of nurs-
available in nursing                         the likelihood of patients returning to your   ing by identifying and articulating the
management?                                  organization for future care. Financial        vision and strategic direction for the
    There are several levels of nursing      solvency is critical to the success of the     discipline of nursing and collaborating
management positions based upon the          organization. If there is not a positive       on the implementation of strategies to
type of services that the health care        profit margin, the institution will be         achieve them. As the senior spokesperson
organization provides. Relative to your      unable to fulfill the mission of delivering    for nursing, the CNO must provide
experience, educational preparation, and     health care to the community.                  leadership and direction for the devel-
leadership attributes, there are exciting                                                   opment of strategies to promote the
and challenging career opportunities at      Director Level                                 recruitment, retention, and recognition
each level.                                      A nursing leader at this entry-level       of excellence in nursing that are consis-
                                             position into executive leadership has         tent with the mission, vision and values
Entry Level                                  responsibility for several departments         of the organization.
    An entry level management position       or a clinical service line. This position
is usually at the supervisory or assistant   requires extensive knowledge of the
                                                                                            What does it take to
nurse manager level. To be qualified for     health care environment in order to
this position, you will typically need       plan, develop, implement and evaluate          be a nursing leader?
2-3 years of experience in the clinical      strategic operations of the institution.            There are four major components
area that you desire to manage. At this      A global understanding of the operations       to preparing yourself for a leadership
level of the organization, expert clinical   of the healthcare organization is essential    position in nursing: knowing yourself,
skills are required as the role necessi-                                                    your experience, your educational
tates managing the daily operations of                                                      preparation, and your work ethic.
a department. The front line supervisor                                                     (Hader 2007)
should display an in-depth understand-          Being a nursing                                  Know yourself: Ask yourself these
                                                                                            questions: Are you a take-charge individ-
ing of the clinical area learned from past
experiences; understand what to expect in       leader is one of                            ual? Do you like to plan and implement
particular situations; and modify actions                                                   strategies to improve the way work is
and goals in response to these events.
                                               the most fulfilling                          accomplished? If you answered “yes”
                                                                                            then you are on your way to preparing
    The supervisor must also act as a
clinical resource to colleagues in the
                                               professional roles                           yourself for a leadership position.
care of a particular patient population.           in nursing.                                   The best way to gain a better under-
                                                                                            standing of yourself is to ask a trusted
Nurse Manager                                                                               friend or peer to critically evaluate your
    This middle management role is the                                                      strengths and weaknesses. A friend or
leader of a particular clinical department   for success. The leader is responsible         colleague may enlighten you on some
and is responsible for the business unit     for coordinating the development and           of your own personality characteristics.
24/7. The leader assumes the role simi-      implementation of recommendations              Ask them how you are perceived by
lar to that of the chief executive officer   and strategies to initiate new programs        others. Do you have the ability to gain
of a small company who is responsible        and improve current services. This results     consensus when there are disagreements
for overseeing five key areas: personnel,    in better outcomes and increased market        between groups?
quality, service, business growth, and       share and profitability.                            Objectively conducting a self analy-
financial solvency. The leader has the            The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)           sis is paramount to success as a leader.
ability to hire staff best suited to meet    is the highest ranking administrative          Leadership requires innovation, the
the strategic and operational needs of       nurse in the organization. The CNO is          ability to take risks, good communication
the department. He/she must develop          responsible for the practice of nursing        skills and a passion to achieve excellence.
strong professional relationships and        throughout the organization by ensuring        Without these fundamental characteris-
trust among the staff.                       consistency in the standard of practice        tics it will be very difficult to sustain
    The quality of the care that is deliv-   across all clinical settings. As a member      the pressures and responsibility of a
ered to patients within their department     of the executive team, the CNO supports        leadership role.
is of paramount importance to the nurse      and facilitates an interdisciplinary team           Experience: It is never too early to
manager. The leader must develop and         approach to the delivery of care. This         gain leadership experience. As a nursing
implement a quality infrastructure that      includes creating a nursing environment        student, you should strongly consider
insures that patients are receiving the      in which collaboration is valued and           being an active member or board
highest quality of care at all times and     excellence in clinical care, education,        member of the local, state, or national
without exception. Ensuring that the care    and research is promoted and achieved.         nursing student organization. Active

34   JANUARY 2009
  Choose the Role That’s Right For You
  Role                         Experience Required                       Educational Preparation
  Supervisor /                 2-3 years in the                          I RN licensure

  Assistant Nurse              clinical area                             I BSN preferred

  Manager

  Nurse Manager                3-5 years in the                          I   BSN required
                               clinical area                             I   MSN preferred
                                                                         I   National certification in nursing management

  Director                     5-7 years of practice                     I   MSN or master’s degree in health or
                                                                             business related field
                                                                         I   National certification in nursing management

  Vice President,              7-10 years of practice                    I   MSN or master’s degree in health or
  Chief Nursing                                                              business related field
  Officer                                                                I   Doctorate in nursing preferred
                                                                         I   National certification in nursing management

involvement in these professional            that is a university affiliate or a teach-            make changes that intrude on your free
organizations develops your ability to       ing hospital, a doctorate in nursing is               time to benefit the organization?
understand the global perspective of         typically required. To enhance your
nursing. Understanding the issues in the     qualifications, there are a variety of                Life as a Leader
profession will stimulate you to begin to    fellowships and certifications available                  Being a nursing leader is one of
develop strategies to improve the level      through professional organizations.                   the most fulfilling professional roles in
of care provided to the community.               Work ethic: Leading others requires               nursing. The role provides you with
    Networking with nurses who hold          a strong commitment and long work                     opportunities to be creative, build rela-
leadership positions helps build a coali-    days. Leaders need to be available to                 tionships, network with colleagues from
tion of colleagues whose guidance you        their staffs. You will often have to                  throughout the country and, often, the
can seek as you begin your professional      sacrifice time that would otherwise be                world and make a significant impact
career. It is through this process that      spent with family and friends, personal               on the care that is delivered to patients.
you will likely find a mentor whom you       obligations or interests. Days are often              The position can be challenging; but the
can rely upon to help build your career      extended to late evening hours to                     benefit of participating in the creation of
as a nurse leader.                           attend meetings, functions, and events                an environment in which nurses can do
    Education: It is essential that you      to represent the organization. Clarify                their best is very rewarding.
attain a graduate degree in nursing          with your potential employer what the                     Start now to develop your career as
administration, business or health care.     expectations of the position are beyond               a leader. Get involved, network, choose
Undergraduate education in nursing           the normal workday. Does this time                    a mentor and become actively engaged
does not provide the necessary informa-      commitment fit into the needs of your                 in your professional organization!
tion or develop the skill set necessary to   personal life? Are you prepared to
be successful as a nurse leader. There
are a variety of graduate programs to
choose from and many offer a dual
                                             references                                                                Dr. Richard Hader is the
                                             Hader, R., Saver, C. and Steltzer, T. (2006).                             Sr. Vice President and
degree in both nursing and business          No time to lose. Nursing Management, (37), 7.,                            Chief Nursing Officer for
administration (leading to both an           p. 23-29,48.                                                              Meridian Health in Wall,
MSN and an MBA). The combination                                                                                       NJ. In addition, he is the
                                             Hader, R. (2007). Are you prepared for your role as                       Editor-in-Chief of the
of these two credentials provides you        a CNO? Nursing Management, (38), 3. p. 43-44.                             Nursing Management
with theoretical knowledge which can                                                                                   journal. He is also a past
easily be applied in the work setting.                                                                                 NSNA Vice President
If your intent is to lead an organization                                                                              (1984-1985).

                                                                                                                  NSNA IMPRINT | www.nsna.org 35

				
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posted:11/22/2011
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