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6 Business Skills for Nurse Leaders

Nurse leaders use several business skills to lead health care organizations in producing positive patient outcomes. Often, nurse leaders oversee departmental finances and human resource management, as well as participate in enterprise strategic planning. They also help shape the patient and employee experience by making sure that their organization delivers quality care. Employing essential business skills can help nurse leaders to improve performance and manage resources.

Skill 1: Finance

Nurse administrators use finance and accounting skills to oversee departmental budgets and issue reports to organizational stakeholders. They comprehend finance related information and plan budgets for medical units, while also complying with organizational accounting practices. Caregiving facilities often hold nurse administrators responsible for monitoring and addressing budget compliance. In this capacity, the nurse administrators work closely with the finance department and represent the nursing pool in matters requiring financial support.

Skill 2: Human Resources

One of the key business skills for nurse managers is the ability to recruit talent that can support a health care institution’s current and future workloads. After hiring these individuals, managers must work to promote morale among the talent pool, particularly if it’s a multi-generational team of nurses. Additionally, nurse leaders mediate workplace conflicts and keep employees focused on positive patient outcomes. They also make sure the organization and employees comply with policies pertaining to issues such as accreditation and licensing.

Skill 3: Strategy

As leaders within their health care institution, nurse managers must clearly understand the organizational business plan and aid with assessing current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To accomplish this, nurse administrators participate in organizational strategic planning initiatives and relay these planning objectives to their team. Nurse managers also plan and implement emergency preparedness strategies, OSHA compliance, worker injury management and safety education.

Skill 4: Leadership

Nurse leaders possess a number of key leadership values which can help them guide and assist both patients and peers. Some of these important values include committing to provide the best care possible, excellent communication, efficiently prioritizing tasks, develop a nurturing culture and ensuring that patient care aligns with hospital values. For example, managers transitioning from frontline nursing often face the challenge of balancing building employee loyalty and advancing organizational objectives. To help manage this responsibility, entry-level nurse managers often pair with veteran managers to learn and develop this skill. These veteran mentors help new nurse managers enhance their leadership and communication skills, particularly when difficult and unfamiliar challenges arise.

Skill 5: Operations

Nurse administrators oversee many intricate operational tasks, particularly monitoring patient care, reviewing data, addressing concerns regarding personnel and collaborating with hospital management and administration to evaluate and improve care. Nurse leaders must prioritize many tasks in a fast-paced environment to maintain a consistent workflow that helps the organization accomplish desired objectives. To achieve this, nurse leaders constantly monitor performance to ensure that operations align with organizational goals.

Skill 6: Relationship Building

Nurse managers must be proficient in communicating ideas and listening to others, especially for establishing an open dialog among employees and coordinating the needs of various caregiving disciplines. By promoting a team atmosphere, nurse managers build trust and respect among peers, which can improve the caregiving environment for patients and staff members. Nurse leaders use a variety of business skills to manage the caregiving process. They must be able to continually develop their skillset through experience, education and peer support to help improve patient outcomes. By building morale and educating employees, nurse managers provide effective leadership which shapes the caregiving setting throughout every dimension of daily operations.

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Norwich University has been a leader in innovative education since 1819. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.

Norwich University’s online Master of Science in Nursing program helps students hone their knowledge and skills to assume leadership positions in healthcare systems, nursing informatics or nursing education. The program aims to develop students who could take a role in shaping health policy, in educating other nurses and health care professionals, and in providing advanced care to their patients. Norwich’s online nursing program coursework has been developed based on guidelines by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.


Essential business skills for nurse managers, Strategies for Nurse Managers

The Skills Doctors and Nurses Need to Be Effective Executives, Harvard Business Review

Nine principles of successful nursing leadership, American Nurse Today

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