Preparing nurse leaders for 2020



    1. President, Sigma Theta Tau International, Indianapolis, IN
    2. Professor, School of Nursing, California State University Chico, Chico, CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Carol Huston
10 Via Flora Ct.
CA 95973


Aim:  This article highlights eight leadership competencies likely to be an essential part of the nurse leader’s repertoire in 2020.

Background:  Planning for the future is difficult, even when environments are relatively static. When environments are dynamic, the challenges multiply exponentially. Unfortunately, few environments have been more unpredictable in the 21st century than health care. The healthcare system is in chaos, as is much of the business world. It is critical then that contemporary nursing and healthcare leaders identify skill sets that will be needed by nurse leaders in 2020 and begin now to create the educational models and management development programs necessary to assure these skills are present.

Results:  Essential nurse leader competencies for 2020 include: (i) A global perspective or mindset regarding healthcare and professional nursing issues. (ii) Technology skills which facilitate mobility and portability of relationships, interactions, and operational processes. (iii) Expert decision-making skills rooted in empirical science. (iv) The ability to create organization cultures that permeate quality healthcare and patient/worker safety. (v) Understanding and appropriately intervening in political processes. (vi) Highly developed collaborative and team building skills. (vii) The ability to balance authenticity and performance expectations. (viii) Being able to envision and proactively adapt to a healthcare system characterized by rapid change and chaos.

Conclusions:  Nursing education programmes and healthcare organizations must be begin now to prepare nurses to be effective leaders in 2020. This will require the formal education and training that are a part of most management development programmes as well as a development of appropriate attitudes through social learning. Proactive succession planning will also be key to having nurse leaders who can respond effectively to the new challenges and opportunities that will be presented to them in 2020.