The Looming Nurse Leadership Shortage—Are You Prepared?

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

The combination of an aging nursing population and not enough new nurses coming in to fill those roles plays a large part in today’s nursing shortage. According to the American Nursing Association, registered nurses who are less than 30 years old represent only 10 percent of the total working nurse population.[1] With this nursing shortage there will come a shortage of nurse leaders.

The nurse leaders are nurses with clinical experience that move into official leadership roles within healthcare organizations. The roles served by nurse leaders are critical to the health of the enterprise and ultimately, in driving positive outcomes for the patients receiving care.

Developing Nurse Leaders

Given the continuing need for future nurse leaders, it is essential to develop the next wave of RNs to be well-prepared to assume leadership roles. The creation and validation of HealthStream’s Rising Leader Assessment tool has identified four competencies that are vital to shaping future nurse leaders[2]:

  • People Savvy
  • Leadership Capability
  • Analytical Aptitude
  • Learning Agility

In each of these domains are critical competencies that are essential to the formation of great future nurse leaders. For example, under the domain of People Savvy we found that future nurse leaders need tools to have better conversations with colleagues as having difficult conversations don’t always come naturally. For example, use of the CUS and SBAR3 tool within an interprofessional team could help improve patient and/or resident care. It takes deliberate practice or a program to create successful nurse leaders—giving them the tools and competencies to be successful.

Problems like the pending nurse leader shortage are why we instituted the HealthStream Living Labs Program. Customers and partners participating in its projects help us develop and test new approaches to solving some of healthcare’s biggest workforce-connected problems.

About the HealthStream Rising Leader Assessment Tool

The Rising Leader Assessment allows organizations to identify potential from a validated and unbiased survey tool.  Data is then used, along with performance metrics, to create a 9-box matrix for succession planning purposes.  

The purpose of HealthStream Living Labs is to shed light on innovations in assessing and developing the healthcare workforce—ultimately improving the quality of healthcare. While highlighting data from unique research programs being conducted by our Living Labs team, we are also sharing important findings from our studies and exploration across the HealthStream ecosystem. By understanding healthcare workers’ development through data gather from the country’s healthcare providers and outcomes, we hope to help you to take insight back to your professional practice as well as your organization. Together we are building the healthcare teams that will serve us and the next generation.