Nursing Leadership Job Description
If healthcare is your passion and you consider yourself a good leader with great management skills, it might be worth exploring nursing leadership jobs as part of your career course.
Nursing leadership plays a vital role in healthcare. The U.S. healthcare system has undergone radical changes, particularly in the wake of COVID. Many nurses have left the field, leaving a severe shortage of nurses. The problem will be compounded as 1,000,000 nurses are expected to leave the field of nursing over the next 7 to 8 years.
Therefore, it’s crucial that healthcare leaders find ways to improve patient care with the resources available while also bringing new talent into the field. A nursing leader is instrumental in helping to make that happen
A career in nursing leadership can allow you to go beyond the general care of a patient and influence the policy and operations that can maximize that care.
As a nurse leader, you can choose various career paths that include but are not limited to working as a nurse manager, clinical nurse coordinator, chief nursing officer (CNO), advanced practice registered nurse or nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse leader.
Some nursing leadership jobs have more focus on management and administrative tasks while others include clinical duties. For instance, a nurse practitioner can diagnose and treat health conditions and prescribe medications in the same way a physician can.
On the other hand, a nursing leader focusing more on management might oversee the day-to-day operations of the healthcare facility or hospital they work for and train and supervise staff, including nurses that are below them in rank.
Other potential nursing leadership job duties:
- Collaborating with upper management and the healthcare team to coordinate and optimize patient care
- Maximizing the standards of care by ensuring that nurses follow protocols and procedures designed to deliver high-quality care and maintain the safety of patients
- Managing problems between healthcare providers and patients (patient advocacy)
- Evaluating and interviewing potential nursing candidates and making hiring and firing decisions
- Managing electronic health record (EHR) systems
- Supervising the insurance department and overseeing reimbursements
- Working with other key members to shorten patient stays and minimize readmission rates
- Strategizing to reduce the cost of healthcare and improve efficiency
- Ordering and reviewing laboratory and other diagnostic tests
- Overseeing healthcare team members directly responsible for patient care
- Strategizing to reduce turnover rates of nurses through nursing advocacy
- Tackling community health initiatives to educate about common health problems such as diabetes, obesity, flu prevention, and more
This list of responsibilities is not exhaustive and there may be other duties that are specific to particular nursing leadership positions.
Nursing Leadership Salary
Nursing leaders whose job descriptions are more focused on administrative and managerial tasks earn an average of $95,199 per year. But nurse practitioner positions with a clinical focus pay an average of $123,780 annually or $59.51 per hour.
However, a nursing leader’s salary is influenced by how many certifications they have achieved, their skill set, level of education, and the length of time working in the nursing profession.
California, Alaska, Massachusetts, and New York lead other states in terms of which ones pay nursing leaders the best salary.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is seeking both a nurse leader and a nurse practitioner for its New York, New York facility. The right candidate will have a Bachelor of Science or master’s degree in nursing, as well as certification from the State of New York as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. There are other requirements as well as a full job description on their website.
Middlesex Health in Connecticut is often hiring for nursing leadership jobs in a variety of specifications. These positions include standard management roles as well as education/teaching-specific positions.
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Alaska is looking for a qualified registered nurse case manager as well as for other leadership positions for its Bethel, Alaska location. For some roles, they are offering sign-on bonuses or relocation expense reimbursement.
Nursing Leadership Training and Requirements
According to Nurse.org, the first step to becoming a nursing leader is to first work as a licensed registered nurse.
Most organizations will then offer preference to candidates who have a master’s degree. Then, you’ll need to receive certification from a Certified Nursing Leader (CNL) program after fulfilling the educational and clinical requirements, which includes a minimum of 400 clinical hours.
Once you meet the program’s requirements, you can become a certified nursing leader by taking and passing the AACN CNL exam.
In addition, you’ll want real-world experience in working with patients. Any leadership experience or qualities will also get you noticed by hiring managers.
Other helpful skills and qualities when seeking a nursing leadership position include:
- Great communication and organizational prowess
- A compassionate and empathic nature
- Emotional intelligence and stability
- Detail oriented
- Astute critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- The ability to mentor and lead and inspire others
- A professional demeanor
A career in nursing leadership is a worthwhile and notable profession that offers many rewards for you, your team members, and your patients. Once you’ve gained the education and experience you need to become a nursing leader, the sky’s the limit for your future.