Experts Stress the Importance of Succession Planning

As many know, succession planning is a huge part of any business, yet it has been somewhat lacking in the nursing world. According to Maria R. Shirey, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN, the Assistant Dean at the University of Alabama, finding a qualified replacement for nursing leadership roles, especially nursing middle management, is crucial for the future of healthcare. Shirey has been successful in writing multiple articles on the importance of succession planning in nursing management.

According to Shirey, the role of the typical nurse manager has changed significantly over the years. She has stated, “Since the period of re-engineering in the 1990s, nurse managers have effectively become the chief executive officer of the patient care unit, and, in many institutions, the leaders of more than one. In that capacity, they have responsibility for the entire scope of what goes on in those nursing units, including human resources responsibilities like hiring, counseling, developing and mentoring staff who report to them; financial responsibilities in terms of generating and monitoring a budget for those units; and responsibility for the quality of patient care and the safety of the patient care that’s delivered.”

Shirey also argues that the recent changes in healthcare reimbursement have contributed to a change in leadership responsibilities as well. Now that reimbursement is closely tied to patient satisfaction, there is more emphasis on quality, rather than quantity.

With more stress put on improving patient satisfaction scores, nurse managers have the additional pressure to maintain not only clinical outcomes and staff satisfaction, but patient satisfaction as well. This drives an even further need for more attention to succession planning. Passing the torch down to a successor may not be as simple as it was in the past.

If succession-planning efforts fall short, aligning your organization with the right recruitment agency is a safe plan. Recruitment agencies can help ease the stress of finding the perfect successor.