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How Nurses Can Prepare for Leadership Roles

As you progress in your nursing career, you will discover that you become ready to take on more responsibility. Perhaps you will realize that you would like to move from your current position to a more challenging one. Or perhaps you will seek a promotion to increase your earnings. No matter the reason, you might decide that leadership in nursing is right for you. If climbing the career ladder appeals to you, you should consider an online RN to BSN program.

What Is Leadership in Nursing?

Leadership is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. Some characteristics of leadership in nursing may seem contradictory: strong yet sensitive, authoritative but receptive, determined and flexible. According to Leonard Callaghan, leadership in nursing is about getting people to work together toward a common goal. For nurses, the common goal is patient health.

Becoming a Leader

Leaders are trustworthy individuals; their peers, other leaders and managers all trust them. Leaders understand the complexity of today’s healthcare environment. Some, like Collegian writer Natashia Josephine Scully, might even call that environment “chaotic.” Modern leadership often depends on people skills (or “soft skills”) as much as authority.

Leaders must also be well educated; therefore, it is important to have the right certifications and credentials. An online RN to BSN program will give you a background in nursing’s best practices. It will also familiarize you with real-world situations and give you a chance to study under knowledgeable instructors.

If you want to assume the leadership role of a nurse supervisor, for example, you will need at least a BSN. Without one, you will likely have difficulty advancing beyond your current position.

Continuing Your Education

You worked hard to earn your RN degree, and it was a significant investment of both time and money. The online RN to BSN program is another investment — an investment in yourself and your career. In this program, you will earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which prepares you for opportunities that command a higher salary.

According to Nancy Andrews at American Nurse Today, nurses with a BSN degree are better at communicating and problem-solving. They are also more competent, and their patients have a lower mortality rate. Nurses with more education enjoy more job satisfaction and less stress, and they stay longer with their employers.

Change Is Coming to the Profession

The standards for healthcare professionals are ever-changing, and they are becoming more stringent every year. The Institute of Medicine has set a new standard: By 2020, 80 percent of all nurses should have a BSN degree in order to “possess the skills, knowledge and abilities needed to manage the increasing complexity of both patients and the healthcare system.” (Andrews).

As knowledge about health and technology increases, so do the demands on practitioners. The changes in the economic and political climate also affect providers. The Affordable Care Act changed the landscape of healthcare in the U.S. One of its provisions involves the way private insurance companies conduct their business. This in turn will affect the ways hospitals bill for services, and nurses need to understand these new realities. Leadership in nursing has never been more important.

According to the IOM’s 2010 report, “nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.” An online RN to BSN program is a part of that education system.

A Bright Future

Leadership is all about helping other people do their best work. For nurses, doing a good job means taking care of their patients. Leadership promotes job satisfaction and the promise of a fulfilling and rewarding career. An online RN to BSN program can make all of these things possible for professionals who are interested in advancing their careers. Today, technology, economics and politics are all equally important in patient care. Standards for nurses will always increase, and education can help nurses meet those changes head-on.

Learn about the Purdue Northwest online RN to BSN program.


Retrieved from Andrews, Nancy (2014, January). Advancing toward an 80% workforce by 2020. American Nurse Today

Retrieved from Callaghan, L. (2008, January). Advanced nursing practice: An idea whose time has come. Journal of Clinical Nursing

Retrieved from Institute of Medicine. (2010). The future of nursing: leading change, advancing health. The National Academies of Sciences

Retrieved from Scully, N.J. (2014, October). Leadership in nursing: The importance of recognizing inherent values and attributes to secure a positive future for the profession. Collegian Journal

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