As Baby Boomers move into retirement — there are more people having health problems and fewer nurses to treat them — the nursing shortage seems as though it is here to stay. Of course, this directly impacts potential staffing issues. However, it also corresponds with a potential loss of leadership and knowledge within the profession as experienced nurse leaders retire. According to a recent article titled “RN Survey Finds Rising Concern About Nursing Shortages” examining a 2017 survey of Registered Nurses, “82 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that more nursing leaders are needed, yet 61 percent of the nurses surveyed said they would not consider moving into a leadership position.”
Many seasoned nurses ready for retirement are presently acting in leadership roles. Survey data reveals that a significant percentage of nurses are currently uninterested in pursuing such roles. This forecast signals that the gap may continue to grow. Experienced nurses are critical to the success of a novice nurse, providing early-career guidance and insight. Replacing the sheer number of veteran nurses as they retire is already a difficult task, but replacing the leadership and vast knowledge they have may prove even more arduous.
So, Why Consider a Leadership Position?
With many positions potentially opening due to increasing retirement rates, career advancement possibilities are strong. According to the article previously discussed, “Marie Spencer, PhD, RN, CRRN, vice president, nursing/chief nursing officer, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, New York, reported fewer nurses applying for open positions” and author Wood adds, “… nurses are working for insurance companies and other nonclinical positions.”
Pursuing a higher education, such as an MSN in Nursing Administration, can provide the comprehensive skill set necessary for such leadership roles while enhancing interest of potential employers. The salary potential is also increased by obtaining a MSN degree, as it allows for movement into administrative roles. Leadership roles also allow nurses to combine their clinical and direct care skills with the ability to affect policy and change within their departments.
Becoming a nurse leader can provide an increase in workplace satisfaction, as well. An effective leadership style paired with relevant clinical knowledge can prove useful to any healthcare team. Being able to identify key issues, such as those related to workflow or staffing, and then bring a team together to gather insight and arrive at solutions can be gratifying. This is especially true when the payoff is quality patient care. When helping to organize, facilitate and guide your healthcare team to solve a unit problem or implement a new policy, the patient is the one who ultimately benefits, and that is a great feeling.
Many new nurses enter the field each year. Mentorship and thoughtful leadership can help to guide these new nurses into a long, successful and satisfying career. Being in a leadership role comes with the rewarding responsibility of ensuring early-career nurses are placed on a steady path, hopefully influencing overall retention rate. Nurse leaders deliver care as well as implement health policies and best practices.
Nurses agree there is a need for more leadership within their profession. Benefits of earning an MSN include prospects of increased pay, job satisfaction, flexibility and career advancement, all while potentially influencing future generations of nurses — in turn, positively affecting patients and families for years to come.
Learn more about UAH’s Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration online.