How to Build a Nursing Management Team

Nursing management team walking together in lobby of facility

Nursing management matters. The leadership of your top nurses can be your competitive advantage in the post-acute care industry. Nurse management drives critical factors for your facility’s success, including the quality of nursing care, patient safety and outcomes, and staff morale and retention.

Building a leadership dream team takes insight, strategy, and patience. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there on successful team building. Here is a simplified blueprint to help your facility build its nursing leadership team and transform that dream into reality.

1. Establish Your Facility’s Foundation

Your facility’s mission, vision, values, and code of ethics define your organization. Your facility earns and maintains your stakeholders’ confidence, respect, and loyalty by how well your business practices align with your principles. The more time and planning invested in this early step, the greater the rewards. It may be beneficial to lay the initial framework down first and then use input from your nurse management team to set the foundation.

How do you go about setting your facility’s foundation? The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends carefully crafting a statement for each guiding principle that is well-defined, authentic, and intentional. SHRM defines each of these tenets to highlight their subtle differences:

  • The mission comprises an organization’s overall purpose, intention, and goals.
  • The vision is the aspirational ideal that the organization will achieve.
  • The values are the core beliefs that lead and influence the organization’s culture.
  • The code of ethics is the policy ensuring the organization’s values are maintained.

2. Determine Your Nursing Management Team Roles

The members of the nursing facility management team will vary by the type and size of your post-acute facility. In general, the team will include the following roles.

  • Director of Nursing (DON): A registered nurse with supervisory experience who manages the facility’s entire nursing staff and delivery of patient care.
  • Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON): A nurse responsible for supporting the DON with running day-to-day nursing operations and managing teams of nurses.
  • Nurse Administrator: A registered nurse, typically with a bachelor’s degree and special credentialing. They are responsible for developing and upholding the facility policies and protocols that comply with government regulations.
  • Unit Manager: A nurse who supervises the day-to-day operations of their particular department.

3. Understand the Different Types of Nursing Management Styles

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes seven leadership styles in nursing. These management styles influence patient outcomes, job satisfaction, and staff retention. Understanding each approach is valuable to selecting the individual members of your nursing management team. Various leadership styles round out a management team, as each type will benefit different roles and situations.

  1. Transformational: inspirational, focus on strengths to achieve the greater vision, compliments mentoring
  2. Autocratic: authoritarian, decisions made quickly with little input, a clear delineation between leader and followers, practical during emergencies
  3. Laissez-faire: detached, has faith in every facet of the team, works well with experienced or independent staff
  4. Democratic: collaborative, focus on team participation and success, effective with quality-improvement teams
  5. Servant: supportive, addresses individual needs and staff development, useful for goal-oriented teams and nursing education
  6. Situational: adaptable, analyzes situations to determine best approach based on need, beneficial for short-term goals, such as training
  7. Transactional: quid pro quo, concentrates on efficiency and performance to meet short-term goals, helpful with task-oriented tight deadlines

4. Identify the Qualities of a Good Nurse Leader

As different nursing leadership styles play an essential role in building a solid management team, so do individual qualities that make up a nurse leader. There are many personal traits, behaviors, and skills to consider. So, how do you determine which attributes to look for in your nurse leaders?

Many great nurse leaders share common qualities, according to an extensive literature review published in Nursing Management. The review describes how these qualities cultivate staff trust and respect, which in turn promotes better retention, improved job satisfaction, and a positive work environment. These qualities parcel into the four categories below:


  • Integrity: honesty, robust moral code, cognitive consonance
  • Approachability: open, positive attitude
  • Motivational: warm, friendly, optimistic
  • Emotional Capacity: empathetic, emotional intelligence, insightful
  • Social Influence: influencer


  • Mentor: reflective, empowering, supportive of professional growth
  • Role Model: leads by example
  • Effective Communicator: strong listening skills, receptive, provides constructive feedback, makes personal connections

Clinical Expertise

  • Expert knowledge
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Competent skills
  • Rapid critical-thinking


  • Adaptability to meet the needs of a given situation
  • Understanding of their role within the organization

5. Hire and Onboard Your Nursing Management Team

Now that you made it to this step, it’s time to assemble your dream team. This process can be lengthy and laborious, but hiring the right nurse leaders to meet your facility’s needs is worth the investment. Thankfully, there are strategies to break this process down into three manageable stages.

First: Prepare Your Facility

Be proactive in taking the necessary steps to prepare your facility to hire your team. Do your research to determine competitive salaries and benefits. Organize your new-hire paperwork, such as government forms, legal agreements, drug-testing consents, etc. If your company doesn’t have a human resources (HR) department, secure a partner to outsource recruiting, hiring, and onboarding responsibilities.

Second: Hire Your Team

Follow the required steps for hiring your management team. Develop job descriptions with clear responsibilities, requirements, and skills that provide insight into your facility’s culture. Determine your recruiting strategy and post the jobs. Review submitted applications and interview the best candidates. Extend a job offer to the best candidate for each role. Finally, conduct a background check and drug screening.

Third: Welcome and Onboard Your Nurse Management Team

Once you’ve hired your team, you’ll want to set them up for success. You’ve worked hard to build this amazing team. Next, you’ll want to cultivate an environment where they flourish and remain within your organization, which is why it’s so essential to find ways to support your nurse leaders.

Begin by providing a robust orientation that explains your facility’s principles, culture, and expectations. For example, introduce your team to the facility on their first day. Explain the organization’s mission, vision, and values to foster cohesion and shared corporate insight. Then meet individually to review their responsibilities and what they may expect from you.

Consistent communication is also vital. Meet regularly with your leaders individually and as a team. Discuss goals, provide constructive feedback, and address questions or concerns.

Build up your team through the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL)’s core nursing leadership competencies. Each of your nurse leaders will be at a different stage of their professional development. Sponsoring educational activities that promote leadership competencies enhances individual skills and strengthens the team.

Proactively having resources to address common issues saves your nurse leadership precious time they can allocate elsewhere. Offer your team solutions. For example, alleviate pain points, such as scheduling and staffing, by utilizing a trusted talent partner that values the quality of nursing care.

Attract Your Dream Nursing Management Team With the Right Scheduling and Staffing Solutions

Poor nurse staffing and unsafe patient ratios repel quality nurse leaders. Learn how IntelyCare can assist you in becoming a post-acute care facility of choice among nursing management personnel through innovative scheduling and staffing solutions.