Nursing Leadership Today

Nursing today
Health care organizations face a growing challenge from a shortage of health care workers including nurse managers. A deficit in the number of RNs needed is expected to reach 285,000 by 2020 and 500,000 by 2025 (Donelan, Buerhaus, DesRoches, Dittus, & Dutwin, 2008). This projected sustained shortage is due to multiple factors that include changing demographics, insufficient nursing faculty in nursing education programs, and health care worker dissatisfaction. Additionally, the public demand for transparency of quality outcomes places competitive pressure on health care organizations to be accountable for achieving measurable, specific goals at a time that the aging of the population will create an increase in the need for health care (American Hospital Association, 2002; American Nurses Association, 2002; Sherman, 2005). This chaotic health care environment requires a new breed of nurse managers who are competent in management and skilled in leadership. The nurse manager must be able to redesign the way care is delivered and staff are engaged on a patient care unit in order to achieve the organizational goals of the health care organization.
Nursing leaders are challenged to think creatively about ways to foster the development of both critical thinking skills and the dispositions that lead to use of critical thinking in nurse managers. Formal educational programs that teach managerial and leadership skills are necessary. When these programs are being developed, strategies known to foster the development of critical thinking must be included. Inquiry-based learning techniques such as questioning, discussion, debates, case studies, and critical incident analysis can be used when planning curriculum for management and leadership education programs (Edwards, 2007).
In addition to developing critical thinking skills, the dispositions that encourage the use of critical thinking must be nurtured in nurse managers. Encouraging the development of...