Nurse managers play a crucial role at hospitals by leading the nursing staff and handling their administrative needs. Their experience with bedside care uniquely positions them to do so. Today, baby boomers fill most of these positions, but as they start to retire, younger nurses will need to step up.
But this transition might not happen naturally, as millennials and gen-X nurses are wary of managerial roles. They associate them with increased stress, a wide range of responsibilities and “organizational politics,” according to a report in the American Journal of Nursing.
To combat this attitude, administrators and nurse managers alike must rethink the duties of the role and an individual’s path to getting there. Here are a few places to start, via the American Organization of Nurse Executives and AJN:
Promote young nurses with potential.
The depth of a nurse’s experience should be less important than natural leadership skills—or even just an aspiration to lead—in order to fill these roles. The other skills can be taught and learned.
Offer—and pay for—professional development opportunities.
Create a mentorship structure in your workplace, facilitate networking, and overall, prioritize the career growth of younger employees. Reimbursing employees who pay for their own professional development, including tuition, conference attendance fees and certifications, can also attract nurses to manager roles.
Try out shared leadership models.
Younger generations, especially millennials, don’t like authoritarian leadership and prefer more collaborative environments. Shared leadership relies on the wisdom of the group as a whole to establish standards of practice and continually improve them. This approach encourages whole group to feel responsible for its success, alleviating some pressure for the individual manager.
Support employees’ work-life balance.
Most nurses usually take on three, 12-hour shifts a week whereas managers often work eight-hour days five days a week, and are on-call 24/7. The increased time commitment can be a major deterrent, so offer flexible scheduling, work-from-home days and opportunities for nurse managers to continue to care for patients, if they want.
Acknowledge hard work. Give constructive feedback.
Professional environments that promote praise and recognition have higher retention rates. So encourage nurse managers to support their employees, for example through regular, meaningful conversations. Not only does this reduce the likelihood nurses will quit, but it could also motivate them to advance their career more quickly.
Younger generations are moving away from traditional work structures. It’s crucial HAs and current nurse managers address these new professional expectations to keep care at their facilities running smoothly.
The Roles of a Nurse Manager: Leading the nursing profession into the future, Duquesne University School of Nursing.
Adapting the Nurse Manager Role to Attract Generation X and Millennial Nurses, American Journal of Nursing.
How Millennials Are Changing The Way We View Leadership, Forbes.
Last updated on 10/1/19.