Nurse leader looking at clipboard with nurse walking in background
HealthSeptember 10, 2020

Wolters Kluwer signals strategic imperatives for nurse executives in a post-COVID-19 world

The latest installment of the Mending Healthcare in America series explores the role of nurse executives in shaping the future of nursing

Today, Wolters Kluwer, Health released a new report that presents strategic imperatives for nurse executives in a post-COVID-19 world. “Nurse Executives: Driving Change in the Era of COVID-19,” explores how nurse leaders are in a unique position to embrace new opportunities and challenges in a post pandemic reality that can shape longer-term strategies to strengthen the profession.

“COVID-19 was a catalyst for major innovations in healthcare delivery that were long overdue – many of which are being carried out by a highly resilient and versatile nursing workforce practicing at the top of their license,” said Anne Dabrow Woods, DNP, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC, AGACNP-BC, FAAN, Chief Nurse of Health Learning, Research and Practice, Wolters Kluwer. “As we move past crisis mode toward longer-term solutions, nurse executives have an opportunity to lead the nursing workforce through transformation and drive strategic priorities, anchored in cultural change, to improve patient care.”

The seven strategic imperatives for nurse executives are underscored by nurse survey data (conducted prior to the pandemic) that analyzes responses of US nurse executives to determine their priorities and preparedness for responding to the needs of nurses, patients, and the community, as well as the tools and resources needed to steer their organizations into the future. The imperatives focus on areas that will have the most impact on the future of nursing. 

  1. Shaping nursing workforce policies to focus on career satisfaction and advancement. Post-COVID-19 policy improvements must also ensure resiliency is built into the workforce. 
  2. Formalizing alternative care delivery models to be agile and flexible. Tiered or team-based care teams and rapid onboarding adopted during the pandemic proved highly effective leading to new care model opportunities. 
  3. Engaging in health-policy making to advance the use of nurse-led telehealth models. Nurse-led models of telehealth enable nurses to work at the top of their licensure and scope of practice while also providing an important window into patients’ homes that can impact care.
  4. Building social determinants of health into the foundation of care delivery. 88% of nurse leaders surveyed agreed that healthcare professionals need more-comprehensive patient information to deliver better patient care. Nurses are well positioned to interpret social factors and contribute to integrated, people-centered care.
  5. Fostering programs that make nurses change agents of community care. As care delivery shifts from acute care settings, nurse leaders are uniquely positioned to ensure strong-community based care models.
  6. Expanding education and clinical training programs for new nurses. As workforce shortages are further heightened, nurse leaders must advocate for the expansion of high-quality nurse education and clinical training programs, while also building the competencies of new nurses.
  7. Managing care variability by providing access to the same evidence-based resources across disciplines. Eliminating unwanted care variability can be achieved through thoughtful continuing education that emphasizes better alignment across care teams and disciplines.

Many of the focus areas identified in the survey are predicted to grow in importance as nurse leaders build on the momentum established during the pandemic and transition rapid changes to permanent ways of operating.

The survey findings are based on responses from 352 nurses, 14% of which identify as chief nursing officers and nurse executives. The data is the third installment of the Mending Healthcare in America series produced by Wolters Kluwer. The previous installment of the Mending Healthcare in America series, “Next-Generation Nurses: Empowered + Engaged,” explored the differences in attitudes and mindsets of nurses practicing less than 10 years compared to their more experienced counterparts.

Download "Nurse Executives: Driving Change in the Era of COVID-19"
About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the health, tax & accounting, governance, risk & compliance, and legal & regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.