New nurse managers can often find themselves overwhelmed in their first weeks, months or even years on the job, as no matter how prepared they may feel there will always be unexpected challenges awaiting them.
Leadership roles in nursing have become increasingly complex as more and more responsibilities are added onto the shoulders of those in these positions. As staff nurses usually have little idea of the daily challenges faced by their leaders, it can be quite a shock when they take on these roles.
One way to be well prepared is to enroll in a nurse leadership program at the University of Indianapolis. It is an excellent way to learn all the necessary skills for a leadership role in healthcare. Specialized modules will help students to prepare to face the challenges that any such role would include.
Frontline leaders are effectively running a business as well as being the chief retention officer for their organization and the transition to a nursing leadership role can often be very abrupt.
So, what unexpected challenges can nurse leaders expect to be faced with?
Managing former peers
Many nurses who move into leadership roles can find themselves in charge of those who used to be their peers and the transition can be a difficult one as former peers may often question the decisions made by these new leaders.
Accepting a leadership role in an organization where you already have work experience can be an advantage but also brings with it unexpected challenges, as even those peers who may have supported your selection can be a challenge when you now serve as their manager.
Your work habits and your former opinions regarding the way your unit functions will already be known by your former peers, and the relationship you have with them will inevitably be altered by your move from colleague to superior, which can be awkward.
One good tip is to have individual meetings with all staff members regardless of your previous relationship and talk to them about their expectations and goals as would be the case with new hires.
It is also a good idea to acknowledge the disappointment of staff members who were not chosen for the role and to deal with awkwardness head-on.
Ask your staff to give you their support and make them aware that they are valued and that their assistance is vital to your effectiveness in your new position.
Having to manage different generations
According to research, the nursing workforce of today has been shown to include three different generations. Each of these generations has many differences in terms of attitudes, beliefs, financial responsibilities, ideologies and working habits.
Nurse leaders need to understand generational differences as well as the individuals they are managing and to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
Nurse leaders should also conduct a generational inventory of their team, which can assist them in providing for the different needs of their staff members. They should also be flexible regarding how they communicate with different generations.
Nurse leaders need to have their finger on the pulse of their organization and be ready to deal with any challenges that come their way.