1. Hader, Richard RN, CHE, CPHQ, NE-BC, PhD, FAAN

Article Content

Managing in an environment with limited financial resources isn't a new crisis for nurse leaders. Unlike many corporations in a capitalistic society, the healthcare industry has always operated on razor thin margins, forcing managers and executives to make difficult decisions. Making choices as to where to invest limited funds is a difficult task even in the best of circumstances; however, if your organization hasn't clearly defined and articulated strategic priorities, the process will be chaotic and have severely limited success. All too often, continuing education is one of the first budgetary cuts considered when organizations become financially challenged. It's vital that you assertively advocate to retain these funds.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

Professional development of nurse managers is particularly vulnerable if ongoing educational resources aren't available for continuing education. The primary educational preparation for all nurse leaders is in the area of nursing practice. Although it's essential to have a strong clinical background to lead others in the provision of nursing care, a separate and distinct level of skill is required for success in leadership. For a nurse leader to be academically and professionally prepared to effectively lead and manage complex systems, ongoing education is necessary.


Attendance at educational seminars has dwindled primarily due to the economic restraints of healthcare organizations. However, one of the most effective methods of learning is the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country. Sharing ideas and thoughts, successes and failures, and vision and philosophy is a learning strategy that can only be attained through discussions with colleagues. Developing peer relationships with others in positions similar to your own will help build a network of collaboration that can further boost career development.


Because dollars from operational budgets are severely limited, it may be necessary for you to seek alternative funding in order to participate in educational opportunities. Most healthcare organizations have developed foundations that fund strategic priorities. Investigating your own local foundation as to whether funds are available for continuing nursing education is a great place to start. If funds aren't available, then have a conversation with your foundation director to seek gifts from charitable donors to use for scholarship and training. It's enticing for a donor to endow money for continuing education for nurses, and many organizations have been successful in developing a program that provides grateful patients an opportunity to donate money for nursing education.


After resources have been obtained to attend a conference, choosing the right one to meet your needs can be difficult. Far too often, lecturers will speak on theory and not practicality. Choose a conference that will expose you to national experts speaking on topics of interest and information that will enable you to implement ideas within your own organization.


For the past 30 years, Nursing Management journal has hosted the Nursing Management Congress. This year, the conference is at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago, Ill., from September 9 to 12. The speakers are all world-class experts committed to developing excellence in nursing leadership. Topic discussions will focus on practical yet creative approaches to the delivery of care and services by influencing and inspiring others to succeed. For more information on Congress2009, visit Hope to see you there!!


Richard Hader

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.