What Makes a Nurse Leader?

Clinical and financial language skills are essential
By Teddi Fine

Long-time nursing administrator and professor Maryann F. Fralic, DrPH, RN, knows nursing leadership today demands flexibility, agility, creativity, and efficiency in ways never before imagined. Approaches, skills, and behaviors that worked yesterday may not be applicable to today’s challenges.

In “Contemporary Nurse Executive Practice: One Framework, One Dozen Cautions,” [Nursing Clinics of North America, March 2010], she suggests what it takes to be a nurse leader in the rapidly changing healthcare landscape and how to avoid the hazards and dangers associated with it. Fralic urges careful strategic planning, attention to “bottom line” issues, cultivation of solid predictive skills, and an outlook that embraces the new and selectively discards the used.

“Nurse leaders,” she says, “must pay careful attention to ‘cash register’ issues. To succeed, one needs to be research-savvy and become “bilingual,” speaking both clinical and financial languages.” She further stresses that the pursuit of excellence must be tempered by personal energy management. In a recent interview in the March 2010 Journal of Nursing Administration [“Inspiration Point,”], Fralic also shares insights on how nurse executives can build engaged, effective leadership teams.

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