What is an IPN?
According to the ANA (American Nurses Association), “The role of the IPN, also termed as a preceptor, consultant, clinical nurse leader and/or mentor has been described as guiding and mentoring any new staff member; coaching or teaching patient care providers individually or within a team; teaching residents, fellows, students and/or new graduates either individually or within a group setting to enhance their ability to perform patient care activities safely.
The IPN also advises the director of nursing services on patient care issues supports staff development through educational programs and contributes to practice initiatives.”
What is a Director of Nursing?
The ANA (American Nurses Association) has defined the role of a Director of Nursing as “responsible for performance management, evaluation, and discipline; providing mentoring to staff nurses; implementing education programs that facilitate professional growth, including continuing education.
They are also responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations and hospital policies related to nursing services, developing protocols and procedures to ensure efficient nursing practice, and providing input to the planning of nursing services.
They also evaluate and improve patient outcomes, identify opportunities for improvement in nursing care delivery; implement change initiatives and ensure the provision of clinical supervision. The role also entails engaging in high-level decision making.”
How are they related?
IPNs act as mentors for new nurses, while directors of nursing oversee all nurses and set standards for the care, they provide to patients. The ANA (American Nurses Association) says that “The IPN is a registered nurse who possesses the knowledge and expertise to develop and implement patient care plans, including assessment and evaluation of outcomes.
This role requires strong leadership skills and communication abilities. Directors of nursing are required to manage nurses, direct staff development, evaluate and improve patient outcomes, implement change initiatives and ensure the provision of clinical supervision. Each role is integral to the success of a healthcare team.
What are the responsibilities of a Director of Nursing?
The director of nursing services has a responsibility for ensuring effective utilization and accountability for all resources allocated to nursing, including staff, time, equipment, and supplies.
The director performs functions that include:
- Staffing in accordance with patient needs, budget and acuity;
- Managing a nursing education program that enhances the professional growth of staff through training and development activities;
- Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements related to nursing services;
- Implementing change initiatives related to patient care delivery processes.
The director also has a responsibility for evaluating organizational performance in key areas of concern including quality of patient care, productivity/utilization, satisfaction, retention, and nursing practice environment.”
Can an IPN be a Director of Nursing?
Yes, however, it is more common for nurse managers to have a master’s degree in nursing or a related field instead of a doctorate degree in nursing. IPNs must obtain a master’s degree if they wish to be considered for additional leadership positions within their organization or to move into clinical practice from being an educator and/or mentor.
What are the benefits of having an IPN as a Director of Nursing?
Having an IPN as a Director of Nursing can have many benefits. According to the ANA (American Nurses Association), in addition to experiencing inpatient care, the director is expected to:
- Possess exemplary supervisory and administrative skills;
- Be proficient in strategic planning; provide input into health care policy;
- Manage an environment that provides for educational opportunities for staff;
- Conduct an ongoing analysis of the impact of nursing practice on patient outcomes.
The director is expected to be an expert in all aspects of nursing service delivery, including practices and trends in staffing, education programs for nurses, productivity enhancement initiatives, evaluation of patient satisfaction with care services, implementation of change initiatives related to practice processes, and product development.
What are the qualifications for an IPN to be a director of nursing?
The director of nursing services must have extensive knowledge in all aspects of professional nursing practice, including:
- Assessment/evaluation of patient outcomes; quality improvement initiatives;
- Performance management strategies; product development; clinical supervision strategies;
- Education as it relates to the standards of nursing practice and patient outcomes as well as cost containment strategies;
- And management of an effective workforce.
The director is expected to be a master teacher who demonstrates excellence in all aspects of direct care/clinical supervision, quality improvement, and evaluation of services provided, including analysis and interpretation of data.
The director must also have expertise in evaluating nursing practice, patient satisfaction, and outcomes and is an expert on reimbursement for nursing services.
What are the day-to-day responsibilities of a Director of Nursing?
According to the ANA (American Nurses Association), the director must understand the big picture regarding what is happening in the organization. Use his or her skills of analysis and problem solving for short- and long-range organizational planning.
The director must be sensitive to the changing dynamics of health care and promote appropriate policies that govern nursing services. They must provide technical expertise in decision-making and work collaboratively with other key stakeholders (e.g., chief executive officer, chief medical officer, governing board) to ensure organizational goals are met.
The director must provide strong leadership and direction through effective communication with all levels of management as well as with nursing staff at the bedside.
In addition, the director is responsible for all aspects of nursing practice, including but not limited to clinical supervision, quality improvement and practice analysis, performance management of staff nurses, and patient outcomes.
The director is accountable for a safe environment in which all patients may receive excellent care from both the nursing staff and ancillary health care providers.
What are some of the top qualities an IPN should have to be a good director of nursing?
According to the ANA (American Nurses Association), the director of nursing services should have the following qualities:
- Strategic planning skills;
- Insight into health care policy and practice issues;
- Ability to analyze data and provide appropriate recommendations for change;
- Knowledge about reimbursement for nursing services as well as managing the health care practice;
- Strong leadership and communication skills;
- Administrative skills; management, planning, and budgeting expertise.