Investing in Nurse Manager Development Pays Off

Jennifer Thew, RN, November 1, 2017

Hospitals and health systems have not typically prioritized nurse manager training and development. But that's changing as healthcare leaders begin to recognize the critical role nurse managers play in achieving an organization's outcomes and initiatives.

Paula McKinney
Paula McKinney

Ronda J. McKay, DNP, RN, CNS, NEA-BC, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at the 458-bed acute care Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, began her journey into management as most nurse managers typically do. 

"How you used to become a manager was, you were one of the best workers on the floor, so they made you a manager. It wasn't so much that you had the leadership capability, but that you were a hard worker," she says. 

Nurses with strong clinical skills often find themselves hastily appointed to the role of nurse manager without the proper training and skill development to thrive in the role. 

"I was appointed as manager of four units and [the previous manager] left at noon that day," McKay recalls. "I got a phone call from the finance people, and they wanted to know how many FTEs we were going to need for the next fiscal year. I said, 'You know what? I'm going to call you right back.' I called the VP [of nursing] and I said, 'What's an FTE?' " 

But as healthcare becomes increasingly complex, healthcare leaders are realizing that nurse managers can play key roles in improving financial, clinical, and quality outcomes.

Jennifer Thew, RN

Jennifer Thew, RN is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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