Nurse leaders have risen to the management or executive level because they’ve had the ambition to advance their careers and leave the bedside. They have developed their expertise to the point that they can make decisions and provide guidance to staff nurses. This desire to improve and reach for a higher level of excellence is an intrinsic trait for leaders.
But for nurse managers to be successful in today’s healthcare environment, it’s not enough to have clinical expertise – they must also develop essential business skills, like strategic planning, budget development, operations management, and organizational structure and policies. Managers must also acquire expertise that allows them to apply technology, information systems, and critical thinking to their jobs, while adapting leadership theory to their personal leadership style.
It’s a different way of thinking, being accountable for organizational structures and aligning clinical goals with operational goals – and one for which you may not have been -fully prepared. So how does an effective leader acquire these skills? American Sentinel’s online MSN with a specialization in nursing management and organizational leadership is designed for experienced nurse professionals who seek to develop their leadership skills. Through case studies and hands-on course work, nurses examine the various human resource challenges facing an organization as well as the dynamic nature of the strategic planning and management processes.
Of course, some nurse managers oversee specialized departments – like infection control, case management, nursing education, or nursing informatics – and they must have expertise and up-to-date knowledge that supports that role:
- Infection Control. Since infection prevention and control is fundamental in improving the safety and quality of patient care, the industry needs strong leaders in this area. Interestingly enough, the role and responsibilities of today’s infection control specialist are radically different from the infection control practitioner of the past. While the basic tenets of infection prevention remain the same, the expectations for the field have expanded greatly, due to today’s spotlight on eliminating hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has outlined for a new strategic framework to help professionals meet these demands, including a set of professional competencies that will help practitioners in infection control chart a course for their professional development. American Sentinel has based its MSN, infection prevention and control specialization on these competencies. It is designed to help infection control practitioners acquire an expanded skill set that includes epidemiology, data management, and data mining.
- Case Management. As health care reforms begin to kick in, nurse case managers will need to keep up with new care models like accountable care organizations (ACOs) and should even take a leadership role in their development. American Sentinel’s online MSN, case management specialization is designed for experienced nurse professionals who seek to develop their case management skills. The program focuses on understanding patient referrals, planning and delivery of care, evaluating patient results, and evaluating overall program effectiveness. It is ideal both for nurses who want to assume leadership roles in healthcare organization and those who want to start their own case management businesses.
- Nursing Education. For a nurse educator to make an impact on future – and current – generations of nurses, it’s not enough to have clinical expertise. Whether you’re pursuing an educator role within a clinical environment or a faculty position at a traditional nursing school, you’ll need to develop your expertise in curriculum development, various learning styles, distance learning technologies, and methods of evaluating curriculum effectiveness. And you’ll need a strong vision to help nurses acquire non-clinical skills, like empathy, cross-cultural nursing, and critical thinking. American Sentinel’s online MSN with a specialization in education is designed for experienced nurse professionals who seek to develop their skills as an educator. With an emphasis on both nursing education practice and healthcare theory and research, this program can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to share your nursing expertise in the educational setting of your choice.
- Nursing Informatics. As the regulations regarding electronic medical records (EMRs) are phased in over the next several years, nurse informaticians will be called on to assume leadership roles in implementing new technologies. They will also play critical roles in the mission of making “meaningful use” of these electronic tools, by redesigning not only workflows but an entire culture. Nurses have always been concerned with outcomes and safety; now nursing leadership must incorporate these values into informatics as well as into clinical practice. American Sentinel’s online MSN with a specialization in informatics is designed for experienced nurse professional who seek to develop their skills in healthcare information technology. The program emphasizes the technology infrastructure necessary to improve practice while safeguarding the security and privacy of data.