Ready to take your nursing career to the next level? With nursing leadership positions at a 28% job growth rate, 2024 is the year to gain the skills, boost your resume, and start applying. But: How do you become a nurse leader, and which jobs are in demand?
Advance your career in the new year! Explore how to become a leader and top nursing leadership positions like interim leadership and nurse management roles.
What is a Nurse Leader?
A nurse leader is a high-level nursing professional who takes charge and makes sure everything runs smoothly. They’re like the captain of the nursing teams, overseeing daily tasks, making important decisions, and inspiring everyone to reach their healthcare goals.
While there are several nursing leadership positions, nurse leaders are often in charge of:
Organizing & Managing
Nurse leaders handle the day-to-day operations of the nursing team. They organize the daily hustle, ensuring there’s enough staff, schedules are in order, rules are followed, budgets are kept, and patients are well taken care of.
Planning for the Future
They’re the brains behind future plans for nursing. What goals should the team aim for? How can things get even better? What tough decisions does the team need to make? That’s their expertise.
Teaching, Training, & Supporting
Nurse leaders guide, mentor, and advocate for the other nurses. They help their nurses learn and grow in their jobs, giving advice and making sure everyone is doing well.
What is the Goal of Nursing Leadership Positions?
The goal of nursing leadership can be broken down into two parts:
- To advocate for patients and make sure they get the best care in a positive environment.
- To guide, inspire, and support the nursing team, helping them make smart decisions, grow in their careers, and create a workspace where everyone thrives.
When combined, each of these goals supports each other. Supporting nurses and creating a healthy, productive work environment helps patients get the care they need — and improving patient outcomes helps keep nurses motivated and successful.
How Do You Become a Nurse Leader?
There are five steps to qualify for nursing leadership positions:
Step 1: Become an RN or LPN
First things first, you need to become a Registered Nurse (RN). You’ll need to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), pass the NCLEX Exam, and get your state license. However, for some entry-level nursing leadership positions (ex. nurse supervisor jobs), only an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree is necessary.
Step 2: Dive into Leadership Opportunities
It’s time to step up and showcase your leadership potential. Actively seek out opportunities to lead, even if it’s just for a shift. Volunteer for committees, mentorship roles, or take on responsibilities that allow you to gain important nursing leadership skills. Participate in continuing education courses focusing on healthcare policies, administration, and leadership.
Step 3: Pursue Your Master’s Degree
Consider pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL), health administration, healthcare management, or similar nurse executive programs from an accredited institution.
While not always mandatory for experienced RNs, advanced education enhances your qualifications, especially if you are aiming for high-level nursing leadership positions.
Step 4: Complete a CNL Program and Take the Certification Exam
If you opt for a Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL) program, you’ll want to take the CNL exam administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. This certification adds a valuable credential to your resume, highlighting your expertise in nursing leadership.
Step 5: Apply for Nursing Leadership Positions
Once you’ve earned the education and experience you need, it’s time to apply! Seek nursing leadership positions like nursing unit manager, nurse supervisor, or nurse administrator. It’s often beneficial to start out by applying for interim nurse leadership jobs.
Aim for positions that align with your skills and aspirations, showcasing your leadership journey and commitment to advancing healthcare.
Top Nursing Leadership Positions for 2024
Becoming a nurse leader is one of the best opportunities for nursing career advancement. Looking to apply for nursing leadership positions in 2024? Here are some of the top roles to look for this year:
Nurse supervisors run the show in healthcare day-to-day, making sure everything runs smoothly and patients get excellent care. They assign tasks, manage schedules, and oversee daily operations. It’s a great opportunity for experienced RNs and LPNs who want to lead while still being involved with patient care.
Nursing Unit Managers
Nursing unit managers take charge of specific units, making sure the team works well together to provide the best healthcare possible. It’s perfect for future nurse leaders who are collaborative and ready to coordinate care amongst staff, patients, and patients’ families.
Director of Nursing (DON)
Directors of nursing oversee the entire nursing department. At the top, they shape the policies and ensure high standards of patient care. If you’re a seasoned nurse ready to lead others, drive strategic initiatives, and make a big impact, this role is for you.
Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON)
Assistant directors of nursing work alongside the director to manage nursing operations, often taking a hands-on approach to problem-solving and staff coordination. This role is perfect for nurses wanting to step into a leadership role with a strong focus on collaborative management.
What are the Benefits of Exploring Interim Leadership Jobs?
Want to get your foot in the door to nursing leadership positions? Start by applying for nursing interim leadership jobs. Nursing interim leadership jobs are temporary positions where experienced nurses step into leadership roles, bringing their expertise to manage teams or departments for a defined period.
While short-term, nursing interim leadership jobs offer immense benefits for anyone seeking out long-term nursing leadership positions:
- Get Your Foot in the Door: You can use interim leadership jobs as a stepping stone to secure more permanent leadership opportunities. Interim leadership jobs build your network, which is essential in nursing leadership.
- Gain Resume-Building Experience: Interim leadership jobs give you hands-on experience you can add to your resume, opening up your future opportunities.
- Fresh Perspectives: There’s no greater teacher than experience. You’ll gain new insights, career advancement opportunities, and broaden your skills as you work hands-on alongside other nurse leaders.
- More Money: Enjoy a welcome income boost that often comes with urgent-need interim leadership jobs. For instance, interim nurse managers can earn up to $2500* per week or more, higher than the national average!
- Try Before Committing: Test the waters of nursing leadership positions and responsibilities without long-term commitment.
Find the Nursing Leadership Positions You’re Searching For
Ready to take the next step? CareerStaff is here to connect you to your dream supervisor, management, or nurse leadership job and start reaching your career goals!
Whether you’re searching for interim leadership jobs or full-time nursing leadership positions, quick apply now to get connected with your recruiter and find the job you’re looking for.