The healthcare system in this country is becoming more complex as time goes by, leading to the change in roles and responsibilities of chief nursing officers (CNOs) and other medical professionals. Today, CNOs have a wide variety of roles, including administrative and leadership duties. Here are the top five roles a chief nursing officer may play in a hospital.

Nursing Duties

A chief nurse is mandated by the hospital administration to maintain clinical and patient-care standards. This includes ensuring that the patients are safe in the hospital and have access to the right medical care. In order to do this, the chief nursing officer has to work closely with the hospital management and stakeholders to acquire the right infrastructure and resources. He also offers the best insights to the management on how they can improve the quality of care in the facility. A chief nursing officer is also responsible for formulating and implementing new nursing strategies. This requires extensive knowledge of the nursing procedures, staff rules and patient policies.

Administrative Roles

A chief nursing officer has a wide range of responsibilities, including administrative roles. He sometimes performs the duties of a chief administrator or CEO of the hospital. He plans and oversees the daily activities within the hospital and ensures everything runs as planned. This includes organizing, directing and coordinating medical and health services in compliance with the government regulations and policies set by the board of trustees. He may also shortlist, evaluate and hire nurses and assist in educating them on the best healthcare practices. In some instances, a chief nursing officer may help in planning budgets and setting rates for the health services.

Related resource: 35 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Healthcare Administration 2017

Leadership Roles

A chief nursing officer is expected by the government and hospital management to maintain high standards other staff members can follow. He inspires others based on what he does and encourages them to uphold the best practices when handling patients. He works towards establishing a conducive environment for other nurses by developing strategies aimed at creating collaboration. His leadership duties may go beyond the scope of nursing to serving as a spokesperson, representative or trainer at medical conferences and seminars. A chief nurse may also review the certifications of other nurses to make sure they comply with the existing professional regulations in the industry.

Advisory Roles

Many hospitals in the US treat CNOs as chief advisers. They play a major role in helping the hospitals run smoothly and observe the existing healthcare standards. They do this by carrying out extensive research, evaluating results and preparing reports on the best approach the hospital should take to streamline its operations. They also advise the management on how to recruit new nurses and train them. Chief nursing officers working in the public sector may also provide advice to the government.

Liaison with Physicians

Many hospitals struggle to keep a perfect working relationship between physicians and nurses. A chief nurse acts as the closest link between the physicians, nurses and hospital administrators. He ensures that all the RNs and LPNs offer the best possible support to the doctors in their respective departments. The support may include retrieving patient information, observing the patients based on the doctors' instructions and providing the right diagnostic tools. To achieve this, the nursing officer may need to review the policies of the hospital and make changes where necessary.

Being a CNO is a serious decision that requires a clear understanding of the existing patient care policies and procedures. You must also be able to show great leadership and organizational skills to succeed as a chief nursing officer.