Prepare for Nursing Leadership With an Online RN to BSN

Leadership is a critical component of nursing. Nursing students learn about leadership in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. The concept of good leadership is important for registered nurses (RNs) because they need to work together efficiently with shared goals to deliver quality patient care.

An online RN to BSN program prepares nurses with leadership skills that they can implement in all healthcare settings. These skills can help nurses succeed in leadership roles such as that of the nurse manager.

Why Is Leadership and Management Important in Nursing?

Leadership in nursing is both informal and formal. Every day, nurses have a responsibility to take initiative regarding the health of their patients. They are at the point of care, so they know the concerns, needs and preferences of their patients.

Officially, the responsibility of leadership falls to nurse managers or nurse leaders. These nurses preside over staff and manage nursing activities in every type of clinical care environment.

Nurses look to their managers and leaders for information, advice and feedback. Leaders should act as educators, coaches and mentors by encouraging nurses to ask questions and seek assistance when needed so they can succeed in their nursing practice. Leaders also need to give nurses clear direction and set realistic expectations.

What Is the Role of Nurse Manager?

The primary duty of nurse managers is to make sure their units, departments or service lines are operating efficiently. Nurse managers are responsible for making sure that the work is done and that nurses are providing competent patient care. A nurse manager’s duties may include the following:

  • Planning patient care
  • Ensuring staff carries out assignments
  • Scheduling staff
  • Setting performance goals
  • Incorporating improvements for patient care
  • Offering continuing education and professional development opportunities

What Is the Job of a Nurse Leader?

Nurse leaders have less direct interaction with patients than nurse managers. They carry out a healthcare organization’s mission and vision, and they develop strategies for achieving the objectives of their employer. Their tasks may involve the following:

  • Overseeing patient satisfaction
  • Adhering to regulatory compliance laws
  • Setting or revising practice standards and procedures
  • Handling budgets
  • Influencing policy changes
  • Inspiring nursing staff
  • Fostering team cohesion and alignment

Clearly, there can be a degree of overlap between the roles of the nurse leader and the nurse manager. The separation of and responsibilities delegated to the two positions may depend on the type of healthcare organization and its organizational leadership structures.

How Can You Become a Nurse Manager or Leader?

To start your path to a career as a nurse manager or leader, you must first be licensed to practice as an RN. If you are an RN with an associate degree, you may want to consider enrolling in an RN to BSN program. A BSN is required or preferred for many positions in nursing leadership. For instance, nurse managers at hospitals with Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center must have at least a BSN.

For busy RNs, an online RN to BSN program can fit into your work schedule and is often an affordable choice. The University of South Carolina Aiken offers a 100% online RN to BSN program that can be completed in as few as 12 months. The degree program includes a course titled Leadership and Management. In this course, students will examine the knowledge and skills required to be effective leaders in the nursing profession.

Both nurse managers and leaders should be passionate about their jobs and instill a desire to provide exceptional patient care in their staff. When nurses trust their managers and leaders, they are more likely to feel appreciated and supported. Plus, research has shown that positive leadership styles like transformational, authentic and resonant leadership are positively correlated with nurse job satisfaction.

Further research shows that nurse job satisfaction and grit can enhance nursing job performance. Ensuring nurses perform at their best can help improve patient satisfaction and patient health outcomes.

All nurses have an obligation to provide quality and safe patient care. With effective and supportive leadership, nurses can be integral to transforming healthcare.

Learn more about USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program.

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