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The Heart of Health Care: The Many Roles of Nursing Leaders in Post-Acute Care

In today’s vastly changing health care environment, the role of nursing leadership is one thing that remains consistent. It is and always will be the heart of health care.

My role as an operational leader was to set the strategic direction of the organization while working side-by-side with my nursing leader. I found organizational success unattainable without the contributions of my nursing leader and her team.

Nursing leaders focus on setting standards, setting policy, dealing with compliance, and overseeing quality measures and clinical outcomes. They spearhead innovation and transformation within their teams and the organization as a whole.

As I reflect on my career, and the dynamic nurse leaders that I have had the opportunity to work with, I note the following are the cornerstones of successful nursing leaders:

Oversight

Nursing leaders provide direction for their department while holding staff accountable. Nursing leaders oversee many responsibilities, including:

  • resident care delivery
  • customer and staff satisfaction
  • clinical processes
  • compliance
  • financial outcomes

Knowledge

Nursing leaders continually expand their knowledge and understanding of industry changes. Their main goal is caring for our residents. Staying on top of the changes that affect the organization can challenge nursing leaders. It is important that nursing leaders continue accessing education, tools and outside resources. Education provides a level of support for their organizations’ priorities, as well as expected outcomes.

Translating the information and knowledge into organizational best practice is another responsibility. Aligning industry changes with facility and department goals helps to relieve some of the pressure felt by nursing leaders. Implementing best practices allow nursing leaders to focus on targeted, high-level priorities and clinical processes for successful outcomes.

Align Talent and Clinical Success

Nursing leaders continue to work with their team at all levels. They identify the knowledge, skills and abilities of their team. Then, they align those talents with the clinical priorities of their organization. This allows for ongoing mentorship and development of future nursing leaders. Successful nursing leaders help build upon their success by surrounding themselves with an amazing team. Team building is essential to leading a diverse group of people with distinct personalities and skills. Fostering an environment of collaboration and professional growth is a key strategy for successful nursing leaders.

Motivate and Innovate

Given all the changes faced by nursing leaders, they possess a unique ability to motivate staff, especially in times of challenge. They know when to talk and when to listen. They are often confident and optimistic while inspiring enthusiasm in those around them. Today’s nursing leaders also spark and support innovation, knowing change is necessary to succeed in the new health care environment.

 

Being a leader is an amazing journey. It continues to provide opportunities for innovation, as well as personal and professional growth. Working next to dynamic nursing leaders in post-acute care is an honor and a privilege. Thank you for being at the center of our organizations, and for being the heart of health care.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Lisa Thomson

Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer

 

Contact Pathway Health for more information on how we can expand the education and expertise of your long term care staff.