Nurse Administrators: The Skills You Need to Advance Your Career
By Katelynne Shepard, Contributor
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers, including nurse administrators, make an average of $99,730 per year and have a job outlook rate that's much higher than average. So it's no wonder why many nurses are considering moving up into these managerial roles. If you're interested in one of these positions, here are five nurse administrator skills you'll need to hone.
1. Strong communication skills
Being able to effectively communicate is key in any position, but when it comes to a nurse administrator role, it's even more critical. According to Tom De Santes, director of communications for Laudio, an AI-focused healthcare platform, "effective nurse leaders require strong communication skills, but more than being able to deliver a message, they need to learn how to listen. Listening is one of the most overlooked interpersonal skills in leadership positions. ... Understanding your team's individual wants and needs and being able to provide or temper them builds a lasting trust that will impact culture, performance and outcomes."
2. The ability to delegate
While nurse administrator positions naturally come with higher levels of responsibility, it's important to know that you can't do it all and that, sometimes, you may not even be the best person to take point on a specific task or issue. Knowing how and when to delegate to others is crucial to effective time and resource management.
Dee Dee Dalke, solutions consultant at Simplify ASC and former ASC nurse administrator, says it's important to "admit what you don't know, and get the clarity you need to determine what you need to learn right away, what can be delegated to others ... and what can be set aside for later exploration."
3. A goal-driven focus
If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you get there, and being able to set actionable, achievable goals is a big part of being able to be an effective nurse administrator. Dalke says, "Though it's tempting to simply respond to the latest crisis or opportunity, successful leaders always have a destination in mind and lead towards it. ... Don't execute against anyone else's plan; clearly plot how you want to achieve your results, and learn how to motivate and engage your team to get there."
This includes where you want to go in your career. Regularly evaluating where you're at with your job and what your professional goals are ensures you don't get stuck in complacency. Travel nurse administrator positions could be just what you need to get to the next level.
4. Appreciation of staff
Dalke says that "building a culture of trust and respect is critical for any administrator's success." Nurses are suffering from burnout at alarming rates, and industry trends like mandatory overtime can lead to overworked, underappreciated staff. Going the extra mile to show nurses you see their hard work and acknowledge their contributions can go a long way toward creating a positive workplace culture. Dalke advises to "treat employees fairly and never miss an opportunity to show how much you value their contributions."
5. Confidence in your abilities
Being a nurse administrator comes with its share of challenges, just like with any job in the nursing sector, but it's important to take these in stride and have confidence in your skills and abilities. Dalke notes that succeeding as a nurse administrator "is not going to be an overnight process" and that it "takes a willingness to learn, an ever-constant push to refine and improve processes, and a readiness to celebrate victory as well as admit failure."
Whether you're already moving into a nurse administrator role or are just starting to consider this career path, it's important to know the skills you'll need to be an efficient leader and a positive role model for your team.
Check out the open positions at Travel Nursing to find travel healthcare assignments for RNs of all experience levels.