Skills Checklist for a Director of Nursing

By Jason Prader; Updated July 05, 2017
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A director of nursing oversees the work activities of a nursing department at a hospital or health-care facility. She is required to be a registered nurse and often must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Most employers prefer applicants with at least four years of practical nursing experience. Some institutions require experience in a managerial role, too. The average salary of a nursing director as of June 2010 was $85,000, according to job search website Indeed.

Leadership

A director of nursing must exhibit strong leadership qualities and set a good example at all times. It is his responsibility to ensure nursing staff members are aware of their duties and proficiently skilled to perform them. A nursing director should have key competencies and extensive experience in a nursing role. He must remain calm in an often high-pressure environment and know how to respond swiftly and efficiently in emergency situations.

Organization

A nursing director should have excellent organizational skills. She manages the work schedules of nursing staff and conducts nurse evaluations. She is also responsible for hiring nurses to ensure each hospital ward has sufficient staff and ensures work rotas are organized to meet patients' needs. A nursing director also must be able to compile statistics, produce reports and accurately keep patients' medical histories.

Communication

A director of nursing interacts with physicians and nurses. He must be able to provide clear instructions to nursing staff and to listen to any concerns regarding working practices or patient health. A director of nursing consults doctors to plan medication regimes for patients and to address any concerns about nursing practice. He also speaks to nurses who are failing in their duties and disciplines them when required.

A director of nursing also speaks to patients and their families to update them on their conditions and likely recovery times. He must show compassion and empathy at these times and reassure patients' relatives that the best care and medication will be provided. Working closely with executive management staff, the director of nursing also supports the hospital's mission across all nursing activity, according to Walden Behavioral Care, which provides care to patients with eating and psychiatric disorders near Boston.

Knowledge

A director of nursing should be knowledgeable of all state and national laws relating to the provision of health care. She must ensure all activities undertaken by nursing staff fall within these parameters, and she must field queries from relatives if they are concerned about a course of treatment a patient is undergoing.

Finance Management

A director of nursing should be adept with numbers and finances. He is responsible for developing a budget to cover staffing levels and medical supplies on an annual basis, as stated on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. He must also keep accurate records of ward expenditures and submit them to the facility administrator.

About the Author

Jason Prader began writing professionally in 2009, and is a freelance writer with a sound academic background and experience in writing articles for online magazine Shavemagazine.com. He is highly adept at constructing academic essays and producing articles on an array of subject matter. He holds a master's degree in 20th century literature from the University of Sussex.