The Importance of Executive Skills for Nursing Leaders

In today’s world, there is a strong demand for healthcare workers at all levels.

As nursing leaders and administrators retire from the profession, other experienced nurses must take over. This means that if you are an experienced nurse looking for ways to advance your career, now is a great time to consider earning an advanced degree.

An aging population means more demand for healthcare

More people are living to advanced ages. This means that there is a strong demand for healthcare providers that can offer every service, from routine and preventive care to management of chronic diseases and conditions. A record number of aging adults means that if you love to work in healthcare, you can achieve a high-level position in less time than in the past.

Great communication skills are essential for providing a high level of care

Being in a leadership role means that you need to have very good communication skills that you know how to employ automatically if you are talking to a patient or consulting with a colleague or patient family member. Good communication skills prevent serious mistakes and misunderstandings from occurring.

Good communication also helps establish a trusting relationship with patients and staff members. When there is a high level of trust, patients are more likely to take your advice and return to your office for their healthcare needs.

Nurses in leadership roles must collaborate with professionals at different facilities to provide total care for their patients. It is critical that attention is paid when making referrals for additional care and treatments.

Conflict resolution skills are essential for executive nurse leaders

Regardless of what you do, there will be some conflict in the workplace. The important thing is to make sure that conflicts are addressed quickly. Learning how to handle conflicts on a professional and personal level requires skill if you do not want to make the situation worse. An executive nursing leadership curriculum should include exercises and lessons that teach you how to handle conflict in the workplace and help those you are supervising to reduce conflict and work through any problems that arise. When you handle a conflict well, you will be showing others how to approach any similar situations that may occur later in their own professional life. 

Nursing administrators help with financial management and budgeting

The medical world is rapidly changing. It is important for medical facilities to practice good financial management and budgeting while maintaining a high level of care. This means looking at the big picture when making any decisions on how to spend money for improvements or hiring more staff, for example.

The cost of medical care is on the rise and more people than ever are seeking treatment, so it is important that nursing executives understand the costs and do what they can to keep them as reasonable as possible.

Nursing leaders need to learn to be good mentors and role models

The next generation of nurses and healthcare professionals need to have strong role models and mentors to help guide them and hone their nursing skills. As a nursing executive, you may play a key role in helping nurses and other healthcare workers orient themselves into working at your healthcare facility.

Establishing an open-door policy where nurses and other employees can come to you for support and advice will benefit both patients and other workers.

Nursing leaders need to understand the importance of cultural awareness

Unlike the past, many areas are becoming very diverse. This means that healthcare workers find themselves offering care to people from many different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. It is important that leaders take steps to make sure that all medical workers are culturally aware so that they can offer a higher level of care to all with less chance of miscommunication and misunderstandings.

How to become an executive nurse

It is important to have a lot of nursing experience. Before you pursue an advanced degree, you should have three to five years of experience as a registered nurse. This means that by the time you have earned your degree, you will have the experience and education to compete for some very lucrative top positions at medical facilities throughout the country. Some nurses gain their advanced degree and then move on to higher levels at their current place of employment. This is actually quite common due to so many nursing leaders and administrators retiring.

A DNP in leadership from Baylor University offers experienced nurses a chance to earn a doctorate. The program is designed to teach experienced nurses all the skills they need to become a nursing leader. Some management experience is required to apply. Here are some tips for gaining the management experience you need to pursue your doctorate.

Volunteer for leadership roles whenever possible

If there is a need for a nurse to take charge of a task or organize a project or task force, then you should step up to the plate whenever you can. This can put you in a good position when opportunities arise for more regular management-level work within your department.

Be a good role model and volunteer to help with new employee orientation

After you have worked at your medical facility for long enough to know the processes and procedures well, you might consider taking an active role in helping to train and orient new employees into the workplace when needed. This experience will help you gain skills managing and working with others.


Nursing leaders are in demand. If you are an experienced registered nurse and want to take your career to the next level, there is no better time to take the next step by earning an advanced degree.

As an executive nurse, you can choose to work in a variety of locations from hospitals to schools, elder care homes, correctional facilities, social service departments and more.



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