Competencies Required for each Level of Leadership in Nursing

Nursing, like other professions, will always be distinguished by a wide range of knowledge, abilities, and characteristics that nurses must possess in order to be recognized leaders in their respective disciplines. According to the American Association of Nurse Executives, each nurse leader possesses basic competencies that are visible at various levels of responsibility and care contexts (O'Kane, 2010). The provided position exploration paper focused on interviews with three nursing leaders, including an outpatient surgery center nurse management, a skilled care facility nurse manager, and an inpatient surgical unit nurse manager. The generated findings from the interview revealed that nursing leaders will always have similar competencies despite the context of their operability within the nursing field.

Competencies Required for each Level of Leadership

For all the three nurse leaders interviewed, it is evident that the competencies for the leaders were similar. Communication is one of the common competencies identified by the individuals being interviewed. According to Abukhader (2012), every nurse leader should have desirable communication skills. Through this, the nurses will be able to interact with the patients and the other staff members thus ensuring an accurate delivery of their duties. Communication forms a foundation of an effective relationship within the clinical setting. Furthermore, all the identified nurse leaders for the presented interview pointed out that the nurse leaders should have vision for the nursing practice to be considered as effective leaders. Li-Min et al. (2007) supports this notion by deriving that the vision of the nursing leaders within the nursing practice should always involve the delivery of a timely, equitable, safe and efficient form of care which is patient focused. Apparently, the patients are the major reasons why the nurse leaders are within their leadership professions in the first place (Li-Min, Jen-Her & White, 2005).

Additionally, the identified nurses also pointed out that leadership is a must-have competency in all their respective levels within the nursing field. Evidently, the Nurse Manager Competencies have their basis on the Nurse Manager Domain Framework which captures the knowledge skills and abilities which offers guidance to the respective nurse leaders while in practice (Carruth & Carruth, 2001). A nurse leader must have respective leadership skills to be considered a leader in the first place.

Attributes Required for success at each Organization Level

The fact that the identified interview focused on interviewing managers within their respective fields in the nursing practice provides an indication as to why the interviewees outlined similar attributes for the success of the organizational level that they were managing. Effective communication is an attribute that all the nursing managers considered worthy to have while overseeing their levels. Evidently, each of the interviewee provided that effective communication was important for success since they were interacting with people from different backgrounds. Thus effective communication was an important consideration to ensure effective handling of the healthcare issues, the organization issues as well as nursing. Furthermore, the nurse manager within a skilled care facility added that demonstrating that one had desirable skill in interpersonal communication was also important for success when handling patients.

Besides the communication attribute, the nurses indicated that professionalism was also a desirable attribute that each manager was required to have for the success of the level of management that each was overseeing. Evidently, each nurse was exposed in an environment where they were to interact with people with varied personal attributes as well as cultural backgrounds. Not all were going to agree with the decisions that they made as nursing leaders. Therefore, maintaining professionalism at all times was a requisite factor towards success.

Perception of the Organization and its Functioning

The nurse manager within an outpatient surgery center indicated that the healthcare organization was an important facility which was defined by various challenges which the nurse leader had an obligation of handling for a smooth running of the activities. The nurse manager within a skilled care facility and the nurse manager in an inpatient surgical unit perceived the organization as an institution which will always face various challenges as a result of the constant changes experienced in the field and the difficulties which the members go through while interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. However, all acknowledged the major function of the organization was to ensure quality delivery of care for all its members. The presented aspect involved reporting to the nurse leaders who also must dispatch all their leadership functions effectively.

Perception of the Management Roles

The identified interviewee indicated that the management roles within the nursing facility needed to revolve within various aspects such as communication, leadership, knowledge, business skills and professionalism. All the three respondents provided that through effective communication, they were going to establish a relationship based on trust with the other members in the facility including the patients. When it comes to knowledge, the managers provided that knowledge was an important aspect since one had to have the requisite academic qualification to become a leader or manager within the nursing skills. Furthermore, this must be accompanied by the right business skills within the field.

Challenges and Adaptive Strategies

All the three interviewees outlined that the nursing field will always be characterized by various challenges which must be addressed for the success of the nursing field. The current challenge that interviewees pointed out is cultural diversity. The managers within the nursing field derived that the understanding the components of the cultural competence workforce was a challenging move especially when interacting and handling an individual with a different culture. The nurses also provided that the nursing field is dynamic in nature in that a patient will always come in with different health care needs. With this, a future challenge is presented since the nurses need to consider furthering their education to avoid being thrown out of the job market. The presented aspect comes in other challenges such as a shortage in the workforce which means a reduced element of patient satisfaction in the long run.

To address the presented cultural concern, the nurses should consider learning how to handle and address the needs of patients with different cultural setting. This will prevent different conflicts which may arise when interacting with patients from varied backgrounds. When it comes to the problem of dynamism of the nursing field, the nurses should consider attending seminars as often as they can to keep up with the changes or attend online and part time classes to further their knowledge in the field.


To conclude, the major significant difference noted during the interview was on the level of interaction that the nurses had with the patients which formed a basis of the experienced challenges. Evidently, the nurse manager within a skilled care facility and the nurse manager in an inpatient surgical unit constantly interacted with the patient hence making it more common for them to experience the challenge of cultural diversity in comparison to the nurse manager within an outpatient surgery center. Evidently, the latter only had to interact with the patient on a minimal basis in comparison to the former.


Abukhader, S. M. (2012). Measuring nurse performance: A systems perspective. International Journal Of Healthcare Management, 5(3), 117-128. doi:10.1179/2047971912Y.0000000011

Carruth, P. J., & Carruth, A. K. (2001). A Comparative Analysis Of The Budget-Related Activities Used In The Evaluation Of Clinical Nurse Managers, Clinical Supervisors And Nurse Executives. Research In Healthcare Financial Management, 6(1), 91.

Li-Min, L., Jen-Her, W., & White, L. P. (2005). Managerial Activities and Skills of Nurse Managers: An Exploratory Study. Hospital Topics, 83(2), 2-9.

Li-Min, L., Jen-Her, W., Ing-Chung, H., Kuo-Hung, T., & Lawler, J. L. (2007). Management Development: A Study of Nurse Managerial Activities and Skills. Journal Of Healthcare Management, 52(3), 156-169.

O'Kane, C. (2010). What it takes to be voted RCN nurse manager of the year. (cover story). Nursing Management - UK, 17(1), 24-25.

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