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Strategic Planning for Nurse Leaders

When thinking about the field of nursing, one might not immediately think “strategy.” Rather, one’s mind might go to care and different care models.

But strategic planning is essential to a nurse leader’s foundational duties. As nurses gain more responsibilities in management and pursue certification, they become responsible for establishing core goals and strategies for their organizations and internal departments. In addition to workplace experience, nursing professionals often first learn the fundamentals of leadership in programs like the online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program from Northern Kentucky University (NKU).

According to Research Gate, “Strategic planning is, by definition, about integration, long-term thinking, and a disciplined approach to decision-making. It can be viewed as a process of defining a strategy or direction and making decisions in pursuit of a strategy that includes diverse mechanisms and methods to guide implementation.”

Nurse leaders play a key role in implementing changes for their teams. They are often the main decision-makers regarding specific proposals or plans within the department. Nurse leaders also bear the responsibility of looking out for those who have been silenced and ensuring all policies meet ethical guideposts for various communities.

Goal-Focused Skill Sets

For nurse leaders to reach their goals through strategic planning, they need to be able to assess the fundamentals of their strategies. This stems from background knowledge and research on the specific plan they are striving to accomplish.

For example, inter-departmental communication is imperative. One area of note surrounds research. When nurse leaders can relay research information to other departments, they promote paths to success for all parties involved. Ongoing research allows healthcare team members to evaluate plans based on ones proven to succeed, as well as those that are still in the works.

Another fundamental principle is value-based decision-making. The best nurse leaders can make judgment calls that reflect the values of their facility while ensuring quality of care among the patient population. Nurse leaders are tasked with creating a balance between compassionate and efficient care via departmental structuring.

It is also important for nurses to understand they are more than just “caregivers” for their patients. In fact, they should be encouraged to believe they have the power to participate in and support a holistic approach toward healthcare as an industry. “[Nurse leaders] have the opportunity and responsibility to challenge their teams to grow personally, professionally, and to influence the healthcare industry,” notes Nursing ALD.

Incorporating New Methods

Nurse leaders have a voice in incorporating new methodologies, policies and techniques by working closely with the community they serve. By creating bonds with community members, they can better advocate for policies that encourage healthcare equity for all — because they intimately understand those needs. Nurse leaders can publicly advocate for change and support from policymakers and government officials.

Nursing ALD states, “Nurse leaders possess the necessary ingredients to blend clinical knowledge and skills with business competencies to engage frontline nurses in the strategic planning process.” With this forward-thinking mentality, all staff within the healthcare field have a unique opportunity to progress high-quality care.

Change the Healthcare Field With a Doctorate Degree

One way to affect lasting change within the healthcare field as a nursing professional is to further your career and earn your DNP degree. Those who enroll in the online Post-Master’s DNP online program at NKU will equip themselves to meet the challenges of a complex healthcare sector and work towards improving patient outcomes.

Students will conceptualize new care delivery models based on contemporary nursing science and feasible within current organizational, political, cultural and economic perspectives. This intensive program, which students can complete in as few as 20 months, allows students to successfully forge strategic plans in the healthcare world.

For example, the Quality Improvement Strategies course covers the basics of the design, implementation and outcomes of quality improvement initiatives for patient populations, communities and healthcare systems. In the Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation for Health Care course, students explore models and theories to enhance healthcare outcomes through strategic analysis.

Each future graduate will obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to enter influential roles in the nursing field, such as healthcare executive, nurse manager, nursing faculty, advanced practice registered nurse, clinical researcher and many more.

Learn more about NKU’s online Post-Master’s DNP program.

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