Learn the Principles of Nursing Leadership With a Master of Science in Nursing

Leadership is an in-demand skill set among today’s nurse managers and essential in ensuring an organization’s nurses operate consistently, effectively and safely. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) faster than average growth rates through 2031 for medical and health service managers and nurse leaders indicate a variety of promising job opportunities.

Although nurses generally develop some leadership skills during undergraduate coursework and on-the-job experience, those interested in ascending to administration roles often pursue additional education. The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Leadership and Administration program from Southern Utah University (SUU) helps students learn to implement technology and informatics, evaluate and update care guidelines, understand policies and advocate for changes, among other responsibilities.

What Skills and Traits Do Nurse Leaders Need?

Aspiring nurse leaders can benefit from developing robust managerial and clinical skills and traits. For example, they must have strong organizational and conflict-resolution skills and a willingness to identify areas for improvement — frequently by obtaining employee and patient feedback — and initiate changes to clinical workflows.

Dedication to quality standards. As part of a healthcare organization’s managerial team, nurse leaders must demonstrate a commitment to excellence and quality standards. The policies and processes they implement help nursing staff meet the quality goals of the department and the entire organization. Nurse leaders who integrate a focus on quality care into all they do set the standard for new nurses and can support their team in exhibiting the same behavior.

Strong collaboration and communication skills. Nurse administrators regularly collaborate and communicate with healthcare professionals, nonclinical employees and patients throughout the care cycle. They must be comfortable navigating the business side of healthcare operations, such as budgeting, hiring and clinical care.

Develop a positive workplace culture. Nurse leaders play a significant role in developing a positive workplace culture where staff members feel valued and empowered. Leaders who advocate for nurses’ well-being and consider their input and suggestions can maintain good employee relations. And in turn, nurses who are supported may be happier and provide better patient care.

Influential nurse leaders must also:

  • Think critically and problem-solve.
  • Create budgets and financial reports.
  • Establish performance goals.
  • Conduct performance reviews.
  • Implement corrective action plans.
  • Develop schedules to ensure department coverage and safe staffing.
  • Understand the state and federal health policies and their effect on care delivery and population health.
  • Navigate a variety of technical systems, from bedside equipment to computer software.

Does an MSN Teach Nursing Leadership Principles?

SUU’s online MSN – Leadership and Administration program offers a unique curriculum blend of business and clinical skills that prepares nurse leaders with the essential principles necessary to navigate an increasingly complex healthcare landscape while supporting the needs of nurses and patients. Graduates can advance to roles such as department manager, nursing supervisor and chief nursing officer.

Students complete comprehensive leadership courses like Nursing Leadership Theory, Managing People & Organizations, Introduction to Healthcare Administration, Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing Leadership and Innovation & Informatics in Nursing Leadership. Plus, MBA-level coursework covers the business fundamentals of accounting, finance, marketing and Excel, and a capstone course allows students to apply their developing leadership skills and evidence-based practice in different nursing settings.

As graduates of SUU’s MSN – Leadership and Administration program gain more work experience, they may also pursue professional certification through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) to demonstrate their leadership competencies.

Nurses interested in leveraging their experience and ascending to leadership roles can benefit from a degree offering dedicated coursework in the latest managerial and clinical skills. In addition, as demand for these positions will likely remain high over the next decade, business-minded nurses desiring to improve conditions for their colleagues and patients may find this a rewarding career.

Learn more about SUU’s online MSN in Leadership and Administration program.

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