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Nursing Management

February 2013, Volume 44 Number 2 , p 9 - 11


  • Shelley Cohen MSN, RN, CEN


Welcome to our new bimonthlyManager Matters column, featuring must-know topics for new nurse leaders across the healthcare continuum.Nurse S had been a team leader in the ED for 6 years and was apprehensive about applying for a nurse manager opening, but felt she understood the needs of the department and staff better than outside applicants. When she was notified of the decision to promote her to manager, she was thrilled and couldn't wait to get started and change things to improve patient care. Then, reality set in. With no formal leadership training and a lack of a management orientation process, many of her efforts seemed futile and she started to wonder if she was really qualified for this role. The department had been through four managers in the last 5 years, and she didn't want to be a part of this legacy. Nurse S decided to hang on in hopes of finding a resource to educate and guide her through her new leadership role.Nurse manager turnover rates sit at an average of 8.3% nationwide, according to the American Organization of Nurse Executives.1 This results in many organizations tapping into clinically strong direct care nurses to fill these vacant leadership roles. The expectation typically revolves around a misperception that nurses with expert clinical skills are prepared to lead effectively.It's standard practice to provide orientation for novice nurses and nurses who move from one specialty to another. Yet, new nurse managers transitioning from direct care nurses to nurse leaders are often left to fend for themselves in their new role. This type of transition is challenging and difficult at best, but even worse when a nurse isn't provided any foundational leadership knowledge or skills.If you're a new manager who falls into this transition category-or if you have a nurse reporting to you who has shifted roles from direct care staff to leader-you can take steps to position yourself for success.1. If your organization has a nurse manager orientation program,

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