Five Tips for Preparing Nurses to Embrace Changing Roles

February 8, 2022

Changes are inevitable, and like every industry, the healthcare industry must change to stay relevant in the current times too. The models of operation change to continue to provide services according to the current needs. In the past, the operation model relied heavily upon the value of services healthcare facilities can provide. But the pandemic changed these dynamics completely, and these changes shifted the paradigm towards the volume of services. With the pandemic in full rage, the industry is short on workers to treat the population effectively. Hence, the changes will shift the focus towards providing services to the maximum number of people. The frontline workers, namely the nurses, are taking charge of this change. Their responsibilities are increasing to adapt to the new operations model. While it was a nurse’s responsibility to help the doctors, they are now responsible for conducting tests, diagnosis, giving prescriptions, etc.

Apart from that, there are unprecedented changes in the industry because of the new shift in trends and requirements. Generally, we observe these changes in the form of budget cuts, different practice methodologies, etc. But in recent times, they have become more drastic. A nurse’s responsibility is to cope with these changes, and some ways they can do that are:

1. Embrace the Change

Changes in the healthcare industry are in line with the emerging needs and trends. A worker doesn’t have any choice but to accept them as they are. Hence, the first step is to embrace the change and accept your role in the new environment. For example, the role of a nurse leader in the last decade changed drastically. The nurse leader role in the healthcare facilities changed from simply coordinating the nurses to assisting the staff in clinical practice and making day-to-day decisions. They make decisions and direct patient care initiatives. They have advanced clinical knowledge and are focused on improving patient health outcomes. While their responsibilities changed, they increased their chances of progress. Now, nurses have leadership roles to look forward to as they progress in their careers.

2. Reduce Stress

The mere thought of change can cause a lot of stress in people. As a result, their mental health and body suffer. Nurses can reduce anxiety and stress during the critical time in which transitions occur to deal with such a situation. Some tested and proven methods are exercise and balance out nutrition. Apart from that, seeking comfort in faith or turning towards counseling or therapy is also a good choice. 

Nurses can adapt to change by adjusting their lifestyle and reducing worktime stress to observe the situation. To reduce stress, nurses can take breaks between their shifts to calm down their nerves and progress from that point onwards with a clear mind.

3. Communicate to Understand the Changes

Not understanding the purpose of the change can be very frustrating. With the changes in the healthcare industry, which is reforming all practices, nurses are right to be concerned. Suppose they are worried that their jobs, position, and the facility is going through a crisis. In that case, they are right to worry about their job security. In these scenarios, it is the role of leaders to help their employees understand the change and its purpose. How the leaders communicate the situation will have a significant impact on how their team perceives the meaning. Their perception will dictate the actions they take in the future. For example, suppose a nurse feels that their job has lost its stability due to the ongoing changes. In that case, they may apply to other facilities. Miscommunication with the nursing staff can create difficulties in employee retention. Hence, when someone communicates change, they must consider all the variables that accompany their speech and address these questions in a timely basis.

4. Help Nurses Identify Their Role

Most people are apprehensive towards any change, positive or negative because it creates confusion about their role. The unfamiliar situations can make the person feel insecure about themselves and their work, which can be exhausting. How the leaders help their team understand and communicate their roles will affect everyone. For example, introducing telehealth in the current times did not mean that the role of a nurse became ineffective. The nurse leaders have to communicate to their team that telehealth works towards aiding other people and in no way threatens their jobs. There is more demand for nurses in the industry because of employment gaps and an increase in demand. Hence, helping the nurses identify their roles in this change and reassuring them about their careers can make the transition easier.

5. Become the Change Agent

Change often causes different negative reactions from the working staff, such as resistance, disinterest, negativity, etc. As a nurse leader, you must expect these changes in behavior and prepare to deal with them. The first step is to involve the team in this transition process to help them understand the goals of this change.

Generally, resistance comes from high-performers; as their position changes, they do everything to resist it. The motive for their resistance is that they already perform well in a certain setting, and any change may affect their performance. New expectations and demands can cause issues within the workforce. But the fact is that the role of nurses is changing to become even more crucial in the industry. Their responsibilities are increasing, and so is their value. Nurse leaders can inform their team of these factors and prepare them for the new responsibilities. Using this method, they can deal with the resistance positively.


Changes in every industry are inevitable, and it is better to become the agent of positive change. As time progresses, the role of nurses becomes more and more critical in the healthcare industry. As a result, their roles, responsibilities, and practices change to adapt to the new needs. It is an example of positive changes and shows that changes always bring positive aspects with them, no matter how drastic they may seem.

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