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Keywords:

  • chief nursing officer;
  • leadership;
  • nurse executive;
  • succession planning

Aim

To discuss the organisational benefits of strategic succession planning in acute care hospital settings as a responsibility of chief nurse executives.

Background

A formal succession planning process is crucial to the financial and operational viability and sustainability of acute care hospitals. A succession plan is an essential business strategy that promotes effective leadership transition and continuity while maintaining productivity.

Evaluation

Nursing and business literature were reviewed; reports contrasting institutions with and without succession plans were examined; and, operational implications were considered.

Key issues

It is imperative that chief nurse executives respond to the business benefits of an effective succession planning programme, identify common barriers and solutions, and implement best practices for a successful strategic succession planning programme.

Conclusion

A strategic succession planning programme may offer many benefits to an acute care hospital, including improved retention rates, increased staff engagement and enhanced financial performance.

Implications for nursing management

Considering the ageing nursing workforce and the potential increase in demand for nursing services in the near future, nurse executives and other nurse leaders must actively engage in a formal succession planning process. A formal succession planning programme will help to provide strategic leadership continuity, operational effectiveness and improved quality of care.