Becoming A Leader In Healthcare


Whether you begin your training in healthcare with the eventual aim of becoming a leader or working as part of another vocation, there are many routes toward achieving your career aims. These might include taking on extra qualifications, on-the-job training or personal development.

Roles might include becoming a health unit coordinator, which is a healthcare adviser who helps patients navigate the system, reviewing medical bills, dealing with insurance companies and sometimes assisting patients in exploring treatment options.

Another choice is becoming a clinic manager, leading administrative and clinical staff in hospital departments or doctor’s offices, hiring employees, managing budgets and creating strategies for clerical support processes. There is also the possibility of becoming a nurse leader.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of medical and health service managers is expected to grow 28% between 2021 and 2031, which is a faster growth than the average for all occupations. This means a career in this area is likely to provide job opportunities many years to come.

What is a nurse leader?

Nurse leaders focus on the safety of patients and the quality of care they are given, as well as leading and directing teams of nurse managers and resident nurses. They are advocates for other nurses and patients to ensure a professional and positive work environment.

Nurse leaders have advanced clinical knowledge. Some of their key responsibilities include working to shorten the average length of patient hospital stays, ordering and reviewing diagnostic tests, developing treatment plans, overseeing teams that provide patient care, and improving efficiency.

One of the roles that nurse leaders can take on is that of a Chief Nursing Officer, who oversees the activities of nursing departments to verify whether staff members are following the healthcare provider’s rules and procedures. These professionals are responsible for budgets, financial management, improving patient care methods and creating reports for stakeholders.

Nurse educators also work in conjunction with hospital administrators to develop ongoing education opportunities that can deepen the knowledge of nurses and caregivers. Their main role is teaching nurses and managing educational programs. They might also develop new healthcare policies that improve the care patients receive.

Clinical nurse managers, nurse case managers, and clinical nurse leaders are examples of nursing specialties where nurse managers perform supervisory duties.

The qualities of a leader

The qualities of an effective leader in any setting are varied and include a mixture of personality traits, training and learned behavior and experience. In addition to providing direction, guidance and inspiration, successful leaders are able to nurture the talents and strengths of the people around them to achieve their common goals.

A good leader will lead by example to build credibility and gain the respect of their staff and colleagues, demonstrating the type of behavior they expect others to follow. Aligning their words and actions will help to build the trust of their teams and encourage them to follow their example.

Effective communication, integrity and the ability to make decisions even if they are difficult are also key skills for an effective leader. Other important values include the ability to recognize success and empowering others to achieve their goals.

Effective healthcare leadership traits

According to a paper published by the National Library of Medicine, healthcare leaderships are the ability to effectively and ethically influence others for the benefit of individual populations and patients. The highest-rated statements that were given to a group of healthcare academics and trainees about leadership within health referred to behaviors such as conducting themselves ethically and with integrity, striving for excellence, using critical thinking skills and effective communication, and developing and maintaining positive relationships.

Effective healthcare leadership combines with the hard work of those around them to improve outcomes and the welfare of patients and provide for the wellbeing of staff by promoting workplace engagement and reducing stress and burnout.

Get the right qualifications

To become a leader in a healthcare setting, you need the right qualifications and experience. If you wish to be a nurse leader, you need to take the right courses.

The Baylor University Online Doctor of Nursing Practice – Executive Nurse Leadership (DNP-ENL) program was created with nurse leaders in mind. This program, which can be completed entirely online, prepares students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this field.

Applicants should have a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Nursing from an accredited nursing program, but those with any master’s degree in a business or health-related field, such as an MBA, MPH, or MHA, can enter these programs. Students might also need to meet certain licensing and GPA requirements.


In addition to taking the required clinical exams and fulfilling registration requirements, current and potential leaders should be continually developing their skills and knowledge.

Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective leadership. This is the ability of individuals to recognize their emotions and those of others and to understand and respect them. Emotional intelligence is helpful in adjusting and managing emotions to adapt to different environments and achieving common aims. It helps with relationship management and social awareness, even in the most demanding of situations.

Improving your communication techniques and style is helpful, especially as virtual interactions become more commonplace. Ensuring that your messaging is clear and effective is crucial, and constantly making sure you are adapting how you do it to suit the setting is more important than ever.

Investing time in mentoring and coaching for yourself will pay long-term dividends. Good leaders should be lifelong learners who seek feedback to constantly improve their own knowledge and skills, and this will enable them to help others to do the same.


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