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Why 2021 is the year for nurse leaders

Nurses are there for people “when they come into this world and when they go out of it — and everywhere in between,” Christy Dempsey, chief nursing officer emeritus at Press Ganey Associates, said Tuesday in her keynote address during The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s 16th Celebrating Nurses Awards.

Nurse leaders are there for those nurses.

According to Daily Nurse: “Nurse leaders who will shape the future of nursing are in demand now more than ever. … New opportunities for career advancement, a higher earning potential, and professional leadership await you. There are several reasons why the time is now for aspiring nurse leaders.”

Here are four reasons Daily Nurse says this is the year for nurse leaders.

Need is high

The health care industry needs innovative, highly educated nurse leaders to help guide pandemic recovery efforts, Daily Nurse wrote. That recovery doesn’t mean just the public. The past year has been particularly difficult for nurses, with many now suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice, the most advanced nursing degree, is the key to establishing yourself as an expert in a specialty advanced practice area or as a nursing executive, Daily Nurse wrote.

Supply is low

Despite the pandemic raising awareness of what nurses go through and how essential they are, a recent report by the International Council of Nurses warns ongoing issues could worsen the shortage of qualified nurses.

ICN surveyed 64 national nursing associations around the world and found more than 20% had “significant concerns and unrest” related to the pay of nurses in their countries. The groups also said violence and threats were causing many nurses to leave the profession.

At the same time, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the health care management field will grow 17% from 2014 to 2024. That will give nurse leaders with a DNP more opportunities in board rooms, federal or state health-related agencies, or clinical research institutes.

Need for niche expertise

The pandemic accelerated health care technology. According to Forbes, there are now exciting and lucrative new roles at silicon-valley-style startups. These businesses capitalize on technologies such as artificial intelligence, telemedicine, virtual care, wearable medical devices, genomics and gene editing in the health care sphere.

Nurses stand to reap rewards from this new frontier, according to the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. “Through telehealth technologies, nurses entering the health care field today will experience better nurse-patient relationships and an enhanced number of mechanisms in place for providing patient care.”

Need for diverse perspectives

There are now more opportunities than ever for minority nurse leaders in the U.S. There continues to be a lack of representation of the nursing field’s full diversity in healthcare leadership positions, Nurse Daily wrote.

In an editorial for the journal, Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, RN and oncology certified nurse Pamela Walden wrote, “An environment of respect, inclusion, and acceptance is a key component in establishing and maintaining a diverse workforce.”

Minority nurses with a DNP are qualified to serve in leadership positions, Daily Nurse wrote, and can have a hand in shaping the future of nursing by driving necessary policy changes, and improving patient care outcomes, cultural competence and health equity.

“With a DNP, you can help to shape the future of nursing practice and strategically earn a seat at the table, representing all nurses as you help to drive the systemic changes so desperately needed,” Daily Nurse wrote. “With more doctorate of nursing programs now available with flexible online course options, and employers looking to advance more nurses to leadership positions, the future looks bright for those considering a DNP.”

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