Become a Better Leader with an Online RN to BSN Program

Undoubtedly, nursing demands a certain set of skills, characteristics and personality traits. Leadership and management skills are perhaps two of the most in-demand skills required for success in the field today. People who are not natural-born leaders may find leadership and management courses beneficial, and those who already have these skills will enjoy sharpening them. Selecting an online RN to BSN program that provides nursing leadership training and management coursework may be advantageous.

The Call for Leadership

Nurses have always been an integral component of the healthcare system, frequently serving as the liaison between patients, caregivers and physicians. However, studies show that nurse leadership may have an even greater impact and influence in the changing healthcare landscape.

The Future of Nursing, a 2010 report originally published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommends that “nurses, nursing education programs, and nursing associations prepare the nursing workforce to assume leadership positions across all levels, while public, private, and governmental health care decision makers ensure that leadership positions are available to and filled by nurses.”

Furthermore, the report encouraged nurses to strive for growth — both professionally and personally — through continuing education. Nurses can achieve this growth early on by selecting a program that meets certain criteria suggested by the IOM report. For example, students may enroll in an educational program that incorporates nursing leadership training and management as well as general business practices throughout the curriculum.

Beyond coursework, the opportunity to hone leadership skills may extend into the workplace. In 2012, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) established a hospital-based nursing continuing education program called Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI). The goal of this innovative 16-month program was to “empower bedside nurses as clinician leaders and change agents whose initiatives improve both patient and fiscal outcomes.” Since its inception, dozens of hospitals have completed the program, saving an estimated $28 million annually in patient care because of nurse-driven initiatives.

Leaders in Training

Due to the need for more nursing leadership, enrolling in an online RN to BSN program that includes such key coursework is strongly encouraged.

Coursework may cover a wide range of topics, all of which contribute to the goal of strengthening leadership and management skills. For example, clear and concise communication is instrumental in your role as a nurse. Professional communication curriculum can help improve both written as well as verbal communication.

Developing and identifying your personal values as well as determining your professional identity offers a solid foundation from which to launch your nursing career. Having the opportunity to explore how nursing leadership can influence the surrounding community can be life-changing and transformative. As each course builds upon the next, you can begin to identify the core pieces of your personal and professional persona. In turn, this allows you to enter the workforce with more confidence and the ability to step seamlessly into leadership or managerial roles.

Leading the Future

Since nurses are on the frontline of healthcare delivery, they are among the first to identify possible causes for concern. Moreover, they may be the ones to provide the solutions. The input and knowledge nurses possess should not be underestimated.

Unfortunately, as the IOM report noted, nurses are often underrepresented in positions of influence, including on organizational and hospital boards and committees. Providing the opportunity for students to engage in nursing leadership training and management coursework has the potential to truly change healthcare and enable nurse leaders to act as a voice for themselves, their coworkers and their patients.

Learn about The University of New Mexico’s online RN to BSN program.


About AACN CSI Academy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health – Report Recommendations (Rep.). (n.d.). Retrieved from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies website: Files/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing/Future of Nursing 2010 Recommendations.pdf

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