According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the United States is projected to experience a significant shortage of nurses in the coming years. The projected nursing shortage could have serious negative impacts on health care, including the quality of patient care. Without properly staffed nursing departments, patients in hospitals, physician’s offices, and outpatient care centers won’t receive necessary medical attention, and they won’t get enough time with the medical experts who are assisting them.
Whether or not the nursing shortage can be avoided, health care leaders can use their knowledge and skills to help mitigate the effects of these shortages. Leadership and management training can be instrumental in keeping health care facilities running efficiently. Health care professionals who receive proper leadership training can impart their knowledge to the next generation of nurses and professionals entering the field, those born since the mid-to-late 1990s and known as Generation Z.
The Importance of Leadership and Management Training in Health Care
Leadership plays a crucial role in health care as it ensures the effective management of medical facilities. With the increasing nursing shortage, health care organizations can struggle to reach their goals due to internal tensions and limited staff. Actively offering leadership and management training can enhance an organization’s work culture, leading to positive changes in productivity and financial performance.
Professional development helps individuals gain stronger interpersonal, communication, and relationship-building skills. In health care, leadership training can give established nurses and health care professionals additional skills to help them develop and guide their Gen Z peers while teaching them how to engage in effective forms of care delivery.
The new group of Gen Z nurses is becoming the largest population of nurses in medical facilities. Each generation of professionals has a different set of desires for the workplace, and according to an HCA Healthcare study reported on by HealthLeaders Media, “44% of millennial and Gen Z nurses rate team and managerial relationships as the No. 1 dynamic in a positive work environment.”
Because Gen Z nurses place a high value on communication and relationship building in the workplace, it is important for health care leaders to cultivate these qualities in their facilities. Emphasizing the importance of positive and healthy working relationships in health care settings can make nurses feel more comfortable, especially at the beginning of their careers. Medical leaders should demonstrate that they share the same values as the nurses in their departments.
The HCA Healthcare study also noted, “More than one-third of the nurses surveyed say career advancement training, learning a new specialty, or getting a new certification is the most helpful type of education they could receive at work.” As more nurses retire and Gen Z nurses fill their empty roles, these young nurses are expressing a desire for leadership training in the workplace. Gen Z nurses have shown that they care about furthering their knowledge in specific areas that can lead to career advancement.
Leadership and management training can help alleviate burnout among professionals with lengthy work experience who lead large teams of nurses. Training can help nurses in multiple areas, particularly with their clinical practice of working with patients. It can also serve practical purposes, such as helping newer nurses become familiar with new technologies and policies.
Leadership and management training in health care is important for health professionals and patients alike. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Hospitals with higher-rated management practices and more highly rated boards of directors have been shown to deliver higher quality care and have better clinical outcomes, including lower mortality.” When medical professionals have effective management and leadership and receive proper training, they can contribute to an organization’s overall success.
Leadership Training Topics for Health Care Leaders to Study
The importance of medical leadership and management is becoming recognized around the country. Chief medical officers and chief executive officers responsible for large numbers of nurses and physicians are discovering the importance of leadership development in meeting long- and short-term goals. Health professionals interested in leadership roles may already have practical knowledge concerning patient care, but they need to gain an understanding of management strategies before they can oversee a medical facility’s daily operations.
Health care leaders and nurses may gain expertise in various health care concepts during leadership and management training. Some topics are related to a health care facility’s operational efficiency, such as budget planning. During training sessions, leaders and managers can explain the budgeting process that works most effectively to address different units’ specific equipment, staffing, technology, and human resource needs.
Another key operations topic is facility organization. Management and leadership training can help nurses understand their role in keeping detailed patient records and organizing their equipment and tools.
Other topics of leadership training relate to equitable care delivery, such as ethics policies and advocacy. All nurses should strive to treat patients equitably, and specific training can draw attention to the ways unconscious biases can affect care.
Exploring the Role of a Nurse Educator in Staff Development
Registered nurses who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), have several years’ work experience, and are devoted to leadership and management training can pursue careers as nurse educators. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Nurse educators teach and mentor the next generation of nurses. They are the role models for nursing students, guiding students through the challenges of learning what it means to be a nurse.”
Working as a nurse educator allows experienced nurses to apply their leadership skills to teaching and training Gen Z nurses through a combination of classroom and controlled real-world environments. While some nurse educators work at universities, others work in hospitals and clinics, helping newer nurses develop skills pertaining to preparing intravenous therapies (IVs), administering medication, inserting catheters, and dressing wounds.
The Role of Nurse Educators
Mentoring Gen Z nurses is an important aspect of a nurse educator’s role. Nurse educators develop relationships with their students, learning their strengths, addressing their apprehensions, and coaching them through different situations. Through leadership training, they learn how to provide their students with feedback about what they are doing well and what they need to improve upon.
Nurse educators may conduct research projects to further develop their own knowledge and skills. They understand the essential duty of staying up to date with the latest health care innovations and policy changes. As academic experts, they may review fellow nurses’ research.
Important Leadership Qualities in Health Care
Health care professionals in leadership roles, such as administrators and managers, should demonstrate certain qualities. Vision, communication, empathy, and decision-making skills are critical for those interested in successfully guiding Gen Z nurses and health professionals to excel in their careers.
Introducing the concept of vision during training can help cultivate leadership among nurses. Working in the medical field comes with a variety of daily challenges, and health professionals may find it difficult to maintain long-term vision when they are continually reacting to everyday issues. However, health care leaders can learn to establish goals for themselves, their staff, and their facilities.
Health professionals and managers with long experience in a medical facility can share the organization’s vision with new nurses. A long-term vision allows leaders to work backward and create short-term goals for their nurses and doctors.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills can be vital in building the type of trusted relationships that can foster effective caregiver development. Health care administrators should make themselves accessible to newer nurses who may need attention and training. By meeting with Gen Z nurses regularly or having an open-door policy, health care managers and leaders can facilitate work environments that enforce the benefits of ongoing learning.
Even though leaders are responsible for making decisions for their medical facilities, they can exhibit participative leadership through their communication competencies. Allowing nurses to voice their opinions and discuss their experiences can cultivate an environment that values active listening. Nurses then learn firsthand how to apply active listening skills to patient encounters.
Health care professionals not only focus on developing relationships with newer nurses but also help nurses develop relationships with one another. Conflict management is another important job for health managers and leaders, as they help foster positive environments that address physical and emotional challenges between nurses. Health care professionals should not be afraid to deal with conflict as they work toward creating environments where Gen Z nurses feel comfortable and can be productive.
Actively displaying empathy in the workplace is essential for nurses. Nurses and other health professionals may find it easy to feel sympathetic toward patients and their families, but empathy — the ability to put oneself in another’s position, not just feel sorry for them — demonstrates a deeper level of care. While empathy should be a fundamental human quality for individuals working in the health care field, it is often missing from medical facilities.
Nurses should be able to exhibit empathy toward patients and their families who are struggling through difficult and sometimes life-threatening situations. They should be able to express genuine care through their words and actions. Experienced nurses and health care administrators can also demonstrate empathy for Gen Z nurses who are new to their facility and who may not yet be comfortable with the work environment. Cultivating an environment of care among fellow nurses can be another way health professionals demonstrate empathy.
Nurses and health professionals encounter rapidly evolving situations every day. To solve problems, nurses should be able to make good decisions. Teaching Gen Z nurses and health professionals how to quickly make decisions in high-pressure situations is an essential topic in leadership training. If a nurse does not know how to critically assess a situation and make a decision, multiple negative effects can impact the nurse, the patient, and the medical facility’s reputation.
Through leadership and management training, nurses should develop skills pertaining to decision-making. They should be able to approach a scenario, identify potential outcomes, analyze information, and make a strategic decision.
Leading Health Care Toward a Bright Future
As leadership becomes more integral to the field of health care, medical facilities are looking for qualified health care leaders who can nurture the next generation of talent in the face of a projected health care professional shortages. Management and leadership training not only benefits Gen Z nurses but also has a positive impact on the medical organizations that employ them.
Health care leaders can play a vital role in ensuring smooth and efficient care delivery strategies. Those interested in advancing their careers to become a leader in health care should consider pursuing an advanced degree. Learn more about how Ohio University’s online Master of Health Administration can help you pursue a career in health care leadership.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Nursing Shortage
American Nurses Association, Nursing Workforce
CNBC, “America’s Aging Population Is Leading to a Doctor Shortage Crisis”
Harvard Business Review, “Why Doctors Need Leadership Training”
HealthLeaders Media, “What CNOs Should Know About Millennial and Gen Z Nurses”
Houston Chronicle, “The Role of a Nurse Leader in Communication”
Houston Chronicle, “What Are the Duties of a Nurse Educator?”
IntechOpen, “The Concept of Leadership in the Health Care Sector”
StatPearls, “Nursing Shortage”
World Health Organization, Important Leadership and Management Topics
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses