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Nurse Leaders: The Next Generation

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, October 19, 2010

Kubus warns that hospitals face an exodus of managers from the baby boomer generation and that hospitals should be actively grooming younger generations. The importance of engaging younger generation doesn't apply simply to grooming future managers. Kubus warns that generations X and Y (also known as the millennials) want workplaces where they can progress and with access to continuing education that will help them advance their careers.

"Senior executives need to be developing staff constantly, so they are using their talents to the utmost," Kubus says. "Otherwise people will get bored and check out. Engagement will drop and productivity will drop, and you'll see it in your staff and customer satisfaction scores."

Kubus identifies three steps for a leadership development plan.

1. Identify staff who have potential: those who are competent nurses who have demonstrated skills in leadership, influencing others, and communication. Most people don't go into healthcare to become managers and leaders. Nurses, especially, may fear career progression means an end to caring for patients at the bedside. Get to know staff, coach them, and find out what their career aspirations are.

Talk to high-potential staff about management and administrative positions and relate the work to the organization's overall goal of providing excellent patient care.

"Make it sound exciting," Kubus says. "Many nurses see management as just administrative drudgery, rather than a rewarding leadership role. Start selling it."

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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.