Nurses in Leadership: Common Challenges

  • Multi-Generational Teams
  • Tight Budgets
  • Staff Retention
  • Privacy Concerns
  • Nursing Shortages

Although nursing leadership is an exciting and satisfying field, nurses in leadership positions must often face many difficult challenges on the job. Upper-level nurses need to meet these challenges and design creative solutions to overcome them. To help students with nursing leadership degrees prepare for the obstacles associated with their chosen profession, five of the most common challenges they may face are described in the sections below.

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1. Multi-Generational Teams

Today’s nurses span multiple generations, and as a result, nurses in leadership positions need to know how to manage persons with varying attitudes, experience levels, communication styles, and work habits. They must also make sure that nurses of varying generations are able to understand each other as well as what is expected of them. By teaching them how to interact appropriately, upper-level nurses can minimize any possible conflicts and misunderstandings.

2. Tight Budgets

Another challenge that leadership nurses often need to overcome is declining budgets. With medical costs consistently increasing, most healthcare facilities have found that their budgets are shrinking. Because of this, it has become necessary for upper-level nursing staff to locate ways to stay within their employers’ budgets without reducing health care quality. This often involves such tactics as limiting new hires and pay increases, doubling shifts, minimizing resources, and creating funding campaigns.

3. Staff Retention

According to an article published by Health Leaders Media, one of the top challenges faced by many nurses in leadership positions today is staff retention. There are many reasons for high turnover in the nursing field, but some of the most common reasons include long hours, on-the-job stress, and increasing patient-to-nurse ratios. Another reason for the high turnover rates in the nursing profession is retirement. While many nurses are preparing to retire, there are few new nursing professionals to fill their positions.

4. Privacy Concerns

As more and more healthcare facilities are using technology to store patients’ personal and medical records, privacy concerns have become quite challenging for persons in nursing leadership positions. Leadership nurses must fully understand the ethical principles associated with the storage and usage of patient records and must be able to explain these principles to their nursing staff as well as their patients and patients’ family members if necessary.

5. Nursing Shortages

Due to declining budgets in the healthcare industry and increasing shortages of qualified educators, nursing professionals in leadership positions are often facing moderate to severe nursing staff shortages. This commonly results in longer shifts scheduled for existing staff members, which can lead to such issues as on-the-job stress, job burnout, and low engagement. To overcome these problems, leadership nurses will need to reduce stress through such programs as stress management, time management, and prioritization training.

Graduates with nursing leadership degrees will find that they may face many challenges in their chosen profession. Understanding the challenges that nurses in leadership face can help them overcome these obstacles and succeed in their jobs.