1. Baggett, Margarita M. RN, MSN
  2. Baggett, Frank B. BBA, MHA


Hospital financial management and stellar leadership skills can help nurses reach executive status.


Article Content

While nurses are especially sensitive to and knowledgeable of bedside activities, they're often at a disadvantage to compete for executive positions that require financial and leadership skills. It's time for that to change. It's imperative that nursing educators embrace and introduce curriculum changes at the associate'sand bachelor's-degree levels. Nurses need courses that present information such as:


[white diamond suit] staffing and scheduling techniques


[white diamond suit] budgeting and reimbursement concepts


[white diamond suit] length-of-stay management


[white diamond suit] capacity and utilization performance measures


[white diamond suit] strategic planning and thinking


[white diamond suit] liquidity performance measures


[white diamond suit] revenue and expense performance measures


[white diamond suit] productivity and efficiency performance measures


[white diamond suit] service quality.



For those nurses who've completed their traditional nursing education, have been working in hospitals for a number of years as nurse managers, and aspire to executive leadership, it's beneficial to look at the tasks that consume your day. It's probably the necessary and imperative day-to-day activities that include documentation and charting, medication administration, point-of-care monitoring, discharge planning, and patient scheduling.


Consider stepping aside from these daily activities to assess the way your unit is organized to provide care, the way it establishes staffing patterns, and the budgets it develops to obtain resources. Initiate some strategic thinking at the unit level by asking yourself, "What are my unit's strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities exist here? Who are my unit's primary customers, and are they being served well? What specific tactics have I designed to move my unit toward its goals? Am I making changes to processes to achieve higher quality at lower costs?"


Emotional and professional intelligence

There are many leadership characteristics to consider when making the leap to the executive level, but perhaps the gold standard is emotional intelligence (EI). EI includes:


[white diamond suit] the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives (and their effect on others)


[white diamond suit] the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods


[white diamond suit] the propensity to suspend judgment-to think before acting


[white diamond suit] a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status


[white diamond suit] proficiency in managing relationships and building networks


[white diamond suit] an ability to find common ground and build rapport.



Consider your hiring practices. Look for characteristics in candidates that include high EI, strategic thinking, empathy, consensus building, conflict resolution, and the desire to be a team player.


In terms of your financial responsibilities, take time to form a bond with your hospital's chief financial officer. Gain from him or her an understanding of the budgeting process, productivity and efficiency measures, variance analysis, and the importance of building capacity through proper length-of-stay management.


Embracing these concepts can put you on your way to the executive suite, where you and your fellow nurses deserve to be.