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Diversity in Healthcare Leadership – How do we mentor the next generation?


Did you know, that 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 everyday? The impact of this means different things to each of us. However, I can’t truly grasp the impact that this will have on our leadership ranks in health care within the next ten years. As an X’er myself, it struck me about ten years ago that I need to help mentor and develop younger staff who want to be leaders in the future. Soon, it seems the future of healthcare leadership will be here.

Diversity in Healthcare Leadership

As an industry, we have much work to do. We need to encourage more diversity and women to join the ranks of COO and CEO’s to better represent our communities. CNOs need to identify more diversity and men to help us provide care that more closely aligns with the communities that we serve. We should also help to coach our nurse leaders to think and act as leaders who happen to be nurses.

As health care leaders we all have talents, skills, and gifts. It is our responsibility to identify, develop and mentor the next generation of leaders. This doesn’t have to be time-intensive.

  • Take the time to observe and notice who your strongest performing supervisors are and pull them aside for “the talk“.
  • Are they interested in being a leader someday? What can you do to help?
  • Identify some learning opportunities; podcasts, online courses, another degree, shadowing.
  • What does it really take to help someone excel?

Final Words

Finally, consider acting as a mentor. Send them helpful articles and texts. Pull them into situations where they can learn. Help them stretch on projects or in new roles. An email or text regularly means more than you can imagine. If you want to see yourself on a beach in ten years- identify an aspiring leader and help them be successful.

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A top LinkedIn nurse influencer, influential thought leader and international speaker on the future of nursing and emerging innovations impacting nursing practice and patient care. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow alumna and ASU/AONE Executive Fellow in Innovative Health Leadership alumna.

The first Vice President of Innovation at the American Nurses Association, created the innovation framework, including the ANA Innovation Awards, Innovation Lab, NursePitch, Podcast, NurseJam and strategic partnerships. Former chief nurse executive with 20 years of deep expertise in shared governance, building cultures of innovation and improving the patient experience.

Current chief clinical officer, incorporating gratitude and compassion in the form of patient/family recognition to improve the clinical work environment and increase employee engagement.

Passionate about nurse-led innovation, importing the voice of the nurse into design and development, developing innovation competencies and leveraging organizational teams to build cultures of innovation.

Author of The Nurse Manager’s Guide to an Intergenerational Workforce, co-author of the Innovation Roadmap: A Guide for Nurse Leaders; Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: The Nurse Leader's Primer and the Amazon International Best Seller, The Nurse's Guide to Innovation.


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