The role of nurse leaders in influencing organizational change

Healthcare delivery in America has changed significantly in the last few decades, and the role of nurses has changed with it. In the past, they were given strict caregiver roles. Their job was restricted to patient interactions. Today, nurses have a significant role in management, and it is the job of nurse managers to help their organizations adapt to changing times.

Today’s nurse is more than a doctor’s assistant. They receive more education than they did a few decades ago. Whereas in the past, their role was seen as an extension of the woman’s role as a caregiver, today’s nursing courses equip practitioners to become managers capable of driving change in their organizations.

Executive nurse leadership courses, for example, teach you about factors that bring about change, the attributes of change, and the process of influencing others within the organization to bring about transformation.

An online DNP in executive leadership covers modules like resource attainment and allocation, creating excellence in a professional environment, and strategic economic and financial concepts.

You learn how to influence outcomes and become an effective leader of change in different types of healthcare institutions. Not only can you use these skills to help hospitals and clinics deliver high-quality healthcare, but you will increase your earning potential and become a core part of management. An online course helps fast-track your degree and allows flexibility, especially if you are a professional.

How can nurse leaders bring about change in healthcare?

Before you start your course, it helps to have a fair idea of how nurse leaders influence transformation and how they become change drivers wherever they work. Below are some of the most commonly used strategies,

Building strong nursing teams 

Change is driven by innovative thinkers who combine their energies to achieve a defined goal.

If you want to be the kind of nurse leader who can effectively change healthcare delivery, you need to train your nurses and help each of them understand the need to support the changes you have in mind.

Allow a free flow of ideas and information; remember, the nurses under your purview have ideas of their own that they would like to see instituted in their day-to-day duties.

Creating inter-disciplinary teams

Nurses work within teams. Whether in hospitals or clinics, they work collaboratively with doctors, pharmacists, managers, technicians, and other professionals.

These professionals need to be included in your plans to bring about transformation. Interdisciplinary teams give valuable insights into bottlenecks within the system, and they contribute ideas that have the potential to improve the quality of healthcare delivery.

Improving care plans and implementing new patient-care initiatives

Your primary focus is improving the quality of healthcare you deliver to your patients. As a nurse leader, one of your roles will be to carefully examine the procedures that are currently in use and make changes that help you attain higher standards.

New patient-care initiatives should move towards evidence-based practices that meet patient needs.

Understanding the organization’s goals

Whatever changes you would like to see have to be in tandem with the institutional goals. If, for example, you would like more investment in patient-care equipment, your organization has to be able to afford it. If there isn’t any money, brainstorm with management about ideas that can help raise the necessary funds.

Learning how to use disruptive strategies

If something doesn’t work, you should be brave enough not just to point it out but to come up with alternatives that deliver better results. Be an observant and inquisitive leader who understands the healthcare delivery processes and seeks to improve them.

The use of disruptive strategies isn’t limited to the hospital, nursing home, or clinic. Analyzing your providers can also go a long way to improving internal processes.

You may find, for example, that the billing process on the provider’s side has bottlenecks, and because payments take a long time, you have shortages in certain departments. What can you do to help the provider process your invoices a little faster? An effective management team knows how to use disruptive strategies for positive change.

Having an ear to the ground

As a nurse manager, you will no longer be on the ward full-time; you will likely work in an office and so risk losing touch with patient issues.

If you want to be an effective change driver, you must take time each day to find out what is happening on the ground. Talk to nurses, patients, and others directly involved in patient care and find out what issues they face as they carry out their tasks.

What skills do nurses need to be effective change leaders?

Apart from the skills necessary for effective nursing, you need additional attributes to be the kind of nurse manager who oversees change:

  • You should have the ability to connect ideas, causes, and effects from different sources. Learn to analyze how the work within one department or area of the hospital affects the others.
  • Develop curiosity; it helps you understand patients better. If, for example, you see an upsurge in patients with a certain diagnosis, you should try to find out why that may be happening.
  • Be a good listener; this is required of all nurses, but as a manager, you will need to listen to colleagues, providers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
  • Learn to identify and isolate important information. You will gather all sorts of information, but you must learn to identify what is important and what isn’t.
  • You must be an exceptional communicator with your nurses, patients, colleagues, providers, and suppliers.


Change is driving healthcare in America, and nurses are uniquely positioned to be its drivers. They play a highly significant role in medicine and, over the years, have taken on bigger responsibilities in healthcare management and delivery. With the right training, you will gain the necessary skills to be an effective nurse manager and help improve the quality of healthcare delivery for patients.

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