6 Leadership Skills Nurse Administrators Need

Nurse administrators are passionate about patient care and their nursing staff. They manage the operations of healthcare organizations and act as representatives between department managers, staff and healthcare executives. The daily responsibilities of a nurse administrator involve planning, managing and supervising patient care, adhering to a budget and recommending policy guidelines and structures. Because they work more often with nursing staff and doctors instead of directly with patients, they need specific skills to balance the needs of their staff and healthcare organizations.

Nurse professionals with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration online program from Radford University can build on their education and expand their experience to include financial management, legal issues and informatics.

Important Leadership Skills

Since nurse administrators have varying responsibilities and manage a nursing staff that has direct contact with patients, they are typically responsible for creating and managing budgets; setting standards for writing records; staying aware and current on healthcare regulations; being an intermediary between nursing staff, other departments and patients; identifying obstacles and setting goals; and hiring, training and managing staff.

These responsibilities require impressive communication skills and the ability to adapt and be flexible in the face of change. Here are six leadership skills nurse administrators need:

  1. Essential for anyone in a leadership position, communication is vital for a nurse administrator. Knowing how to communicate with a doctor is different than having a discussion with a patient or relaying information to a nurse. Through clear spoken and written communication, a nurse administrator can foster trust, facilitate growth and overcome differences. Being transparent and demonstrating active listening and conflict resolution skills can help nurse administrators handle difficult problems, manage conflict and hear and evaluate the thoughts and opinions of others.
  2. Decision-making. Nurse administrators make crucial decisions, from patient care to record maintenance to implementing policy. Newly hired and tenured staff look to the nurse administrator for guidance, advice and daily decision-making. A nursing staff that is led by an efficient and decisive nurse administrator will be organized and methodical.
  3. Problem-solving. Processing and digesting large quantities of information while analyzing, examining and solving problems is another important skill. Nurse administrators should guide their staff to identify and develop a plan to solve issues. Effective problem-solving involves a methodical approach with good organization.
  4. Critical thinking. Critical thinking is vital in the world of health care. Nurse administrators make important decisions in the best interest of their patients and staff. They must engage their critical-thinking skills to lead their team and weigh important information.
  5. Mentorship skills. Mentoring and guiding their team to achieve high standards by exhibiting motivational strategies is another skill nurse administrators need. Empowering trainees within an encouraging and collaborative environment is an important part of the healthcare system. Nurse administrators are role models and set the standard for future administrators.
  6. Change management. Even for experienced nurse administrators, change can be difficult. By having change management skills, a nurse administrator can evolve and adapt to the constant change in the healthcare world. Leaders can communicate change to their teams effectively.

Next Steps

Students in the online MSN in Nursing Administration program through Radford University will learn to integrate and analyze theories of nursing, leadership, education and other sciences to improve nurse practice and guide professional role development across diverse settings. They will conduct research and contribute to current nursing knowledge while working as a change agent and sharing results.

Learn more about Radford University’s online Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration program.

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