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Promoting Your Best Nurses: Why Many Fail At The Management Level And What You Need To Do To Make Them Succeed

clinical manager

Let’s face it. All of us have done it. We promoted our best nurse from the field and put them in a management position. Then, it doesn’t work out. Now, you have either lost your nurse manager altogether or they feel defeated by not reaching expectations for the management role. Let’s drill down into why the best nurses aren’t becoming the best managers.

In A Perfect World:

Often times, we think moving that perfect nurse into management automatically leads to a perfect management situation. This is an unfair expectation for administration to have on nurses. They are trained clinicians first and although they can become fantastic managers, it should not be assumed they already know how to do it. Because these folks may have longevity with the agency and understand basic things about daily operations, they are often handed the keys to management without knowing what every part of their role entails. Let’s look at what needs considered when you move the clinician into management.

Nurse Management Considerations:

As an agency, you need to have guidance for any new manager. When we hire any new position in an agency, there is an orientation process for someone coming on board. Often times, those who are promoted within are not considered for an orientation process. This keeps them guessing as to all they are supposed to or not supposed to do. Here are some things to consider:

  • Don’t Assume Anything: Take that individual and begin the orientation process to the role as if they are completely new to the agency. This way, you can determine in the process what is known by the employee.  It also encourages open dialogue through the process as the employee is not under the assumption they are already supposed to know everything.
  • A Good Back-Up Isn’t Always A Good Fit: Many folks do a great job covering for a nurse supervisor or clinical manager during the short-term absence or vacation. This is definitely not a defining factor for someone to get the position in the long-term. Make sure the one you attempt to promote understands the level of responsibility on an ongoing process. So many times, we see these individuals do well to start, but quickly the employee realizes there is no one else to tie up loose ends and they will be the one to stay late multiple times per week. So many times, these individuals were completely unaware of all their supervisor did after he or she had already left for the day.
  • Use Of Policy And Procedure Manuals: Does the employee understand how to use your policy manual? In working with agencies throughout the United States, we have found the answer to be no. Along those same lines, you must give them an updated policy manual that allows them to understand how to manage personnel according to policy. Without following policy, the agency is left at risk for litigation when discrepancies exist regarding personnel management.
  • Give A Probationary Period: As an agency, you need time to make sure this is going to work with an employee in this new position. As the nurse, you need to allow time for him/her to understand the true job role and allow a way out if it isn’t a good fit for the employee. Without this, the employees will often be out looking for other positions and resign before they would communicate they don’t want or like the new role in your agency. These are employees we don’t want to lose, so make it easy for the employee to communicate if it isn’t working.

Kenyon Homecare Consulting Can Help:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we work with agencies throughout the U.S. who are dealing with these exact kinds of issues and struggle by making the same wrong turns in a home care environment where you can’t afford to lose good staff. Call us today or contact us online to see how we can help you from one-on-one consulting, updating policy and procedure manuals, or operational changes.

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