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Arkansas State University

How to Best Support Nursing Staff as a Nurse Administrator

As healthcare landscapes shift and evolve, the role of a nurse administrator has become even more critical. These professionals work to ensure the well-being and success of nursing staff. They play an integral part in fostering a positive work environment, promoting professional development and advocating for fair policies.

At a glance, that seems like big shoes to fill. Fortunately, there are strategies nurse administrators can employ to make sure they support their nursing staff to the utmost level. Nurse administrators can learn and develop these techniques in the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nurse Administrator program from Arkansas State University (A-State).

The following represent various ways nurse administrators can better serve their staff — and the patients under their charge.

Importance of Fostering Retention

One of the primary responsibilities of a nurse administrator is fostering retention. Research reveals a strong correlation between effective nurse management and high retention rates. According to a new study from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), “Nurses who reported their managers offered care, growth and help were 80% more likely to stay in their positions.” This trend is especially important in the aftermath of COVID-19.

A work environment that values communication, offers competitive benefits and appreciates staff contributions can lower attrition rates and create a more stable, productive workforce. Nurse administrators can use their leadership position to advocate for competitive wages, reasonable hours and ample opportunities for work-life balance. Providing comprehensive health and wellness benefits also contributes to employee satisfaction and retention.

Promoting Mentorship and Coaching

Mentorship and coaching are crucial in nursing, as they impact nurses’ individual development, quality of patient care and overall organizational performance. The following represent a few approaches to mentorship for nurse administrators:

  • Facilitate regular training sessions. Training is an essential part of maintaining and enhancing nursing competencies. Regular training sessions help ensure all nursing staff are current with the latest evidence-based practices, guidelines and procedures.
  • Create mentorship programs. A structured mentorship program pairs less experienced nurses with more experienced ones, fostering a relationship of support, knowledge sharing and guidance. These programs can greatly enhance the skill set, confidence and career satisfaction of novice nurses.
  • Provide constructive feedback. Feedback is a crucial aspect of professional development. Nurse administrators should provide regular, constructive feedback to their nursing staff. This includes acknowledging good work and progress, as well as identifying areas for improvement. Feedback should be specific, objective and given in a supportive and respectful manner.
  • Encourage knowledge-sharing. Knowledge-sharing is fundamental in creating a learning culture within a nursing team. Experienced nurses possess a wealth of practical knowledge and insights that can significantly benefit their less experienced peers. Nurse administrators can promote knowledge sharing by fostering an environment where questions are encouraged, experiences are shared and learning from one another is valued.

Creating Growth Opportunities

Nurse administrators should also strive to create growth opportunities for their staff. This can involve creating a clear career progression path, providing opportunities for advanced training or specialization and recognizing and promoting talent from within the organization.

In addition, supporting staff members in pursuing further education — such as an MSN or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) — can demonstrate a commitment to their professional development. Encouraging staff to attend relevant workshops, conferences or seminars can also keep them informed about industry developments.

Advocating for Better Policies

Nurse administrators, given their leadership positions within healthcare organizations, possess the leverage and influence to advocate for policies that benefit their nursing staff and other healthcare workers at both organizational and political levels.

  • Champion policies at the organizational level. Nurse administrators can influence policy by advocating for measures that improve the work environment and support their staff’s professional growth and well-being. One key area is ensuring nurses have a voice in decision-making processes. Nurse administrators might facilitate this by establishing channels for open communication, encouraging staff to share their ideas and concerns and including them in committees or task forces that shape policies and practices.
  • Advocate for policies at the political level. Nurse administrators can lobby for legislation that protects and benefits nurses and other healthcare workers. They should collaborate with nursing associations, unions and other advocacy groups to support legislation around safe working conditions, fair wages, anti-discrimination measures and the protection of nurse rights.

Role of Educational Programs in Nursing Administration

The good news for prospective nurse administrators is they don’t have to be left to their own devices when developing the above practices. There are excellent educational programs designed to hone nurse administrators’ skills.

For example, A-State’s online MSN – Nurse Administrator program equips students with the knowledge they need to effectively support their nursing staff. Courses like Leadership in Health Professions teach students about transformational leadership, enabling them to inspire and motivate their teams and create a positive working environment.

Additionally, the program offers courses on healthcare policy, finance and law, preparing graduates to advocate for their staff and navigate the intricacies of healthcare administration. The online nature of the program also allows students to balance their education with their current professional responsibilities.

Through this program, students learn how to lead, inspire and support their nursing staff, ultimately contributing to better patient care and healthcare outcomes.

Learn more about A-State’s online MSN – Nurse Administrator program.

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