An Interview With a Chief Nursing Officer


One of the worldwide trends in the healthcare field is the growing role of nursing staff with different levels of training. Moreover, nurses are increasingly influencing the management of the medical organization. The nurse leader makes critical strategic decisions and solves problems in changing conditions. To complete these tasks, only a leader’s knowledge of professional competence is not enough. Although patient care is still paramount, other responsibilities requiring such qualities and expertise as managerial competence, leadership traits, communication skills, a vision of the future, and a desire to expand knowledge constantly become more significant.

The basis for this paper is an interview with Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), whose answers are presented further in a changed short and informative form. Personal data such as the name and place of the interviewee’s work is not provided to preserve confidentiality. CNO is an administrative position responsible for coordinating the nursing operations in healthcare establishments and representing nursing staff. The path to the job is quite long and requires a lot of work and effort to continue education. According to the interviewer’s experience, to become a CNO, one needs to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and thereby become a registered nurse (RN). Training and receiving a degree takes four years at a special accredited school. The next step is to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) focusing on management or administration. Those who wish to become a CNO should also receive a certificate, for example, Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML), as the interviewee has.

In addition to education, many years of experience are needed, and for this reason, one can start gaining it with internships during training. The interviewee began her career as a Medical Office Administrator, then moved to a larger institution as a nurse manager. When submitting a resume to the CNO, she already had more than six years of experience in administrative work in health care. The interviewee highlights that the most valuable experience can be gained with the help of mentors since they give guides and hints to action and greatly inspire with their example.

The main task of the CNO includes the creation of a favorable working environment so that the nurses have sufficient competence and motivation to fulfill their duties. This task involves many responsibilities, such as implementing and monitoring recruitment and retention processes, creating opportunities for continuing education, and other actions. The work of a CNO will not suit everyone as leadership requires responsibility, patience, and excellent communication skills.

Leadership Style

The leader often has a particular pattern of behavior, which affects all aspects of the activity – from making decisions to building relationships with employees. Different features are characteristic of various leadership styles, and the choice of style can significantly affect the quality of the service provided (Sfantou et al., 2017). According to Curry (2021), five main types are distinguished in nursing – Democratic, Servant, Transformational, Laissez-faire, and Authoritarian. The interviewee correlates herself with Transformational leadership, as she sought to develop the qualities characteristic of it.

Aware of the importance of each employee to the organization, the interviewee wanted to maintain the conditions in which staff will work comfortably and develop so that they feel the value of their efforts. Moreover, her goal in the CNO position was to inspire employees to make decisions. Initially, these aspirations inclined her to choose the servant leadership style. Although this style has much in common with transformational, she noted that the servant model does not emphasize a common goal and collaborative development. However, in healthcare, patient health is the main focus, and transformational leadership is more appropriate. Using this style, the interviewee supports motivation with her example and favorable working conditions. She also provides clear guidance for work and goals but is open to staff suggestions.

Future Planning

Currently, the interviewee is a member of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). Membership in this organization helps find resources for continuing education and monitor trends in the field. Moreover, the organization promotes networking development that can be used to find mentors, career opportunities, or experts’ opinions. Various events occur within the organization, such as meetings and webinars that draw attention to leadership issues. Furthermore, organizations lobby for interests in health care and promote policy initiatives. Such activities help improve the population’s health and the provision of services and demonstrate the importance of leadership by involving more nurses in their activities. At the workplace, the main plans of the interviewee are aimed at supporting employees under challenging conditions of combating COVID-19. Long-term goals relate to attracting new talented employees to the institution.

Amidst the global pandemic, the problems of lack of staff, nurses’ burnout and stress, the importance of effective management, and lack of resources came to the fore. These problems are worldwide challenges that determine the current work process in hospitals and other healthcare settings (Carson-Newman University Online, 2021; Catton, 2020). The lack of staff is a particularly concerning problem since the baby boomer generation, representing a significant part of the population, will soon reach retirement age. This trend means the resignation of many nurses and an increase in the number of older patients who require more intensive care. Moreover, shortages and pandemics increase the burden and contribute to longer working hours, leading to burnout and health problems for employees.

In the national context, the interviewee highlighted multiculturalism – as employees become more diverse, it is crucial to increase competence in understanding different cultures. At the moment, workers, including leaders, are still adapting to new realities. However, CNO is positive in this challenge, as most of her employees are open and tolerant. At the community level, the interviewee is concerned about the insufficient level of disease prevention and health promotion. Citizens have little interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and external conditions do not help in promoting it. For example, few shops and food establishments can offer healthy food at an affordable price.


The interview was exciting and informative for me, as it included a discussion of the career path and significant health trends. As a student, at the moment, I am more worried about how to start my career. The example of an interviewee is very indicative and understandable, but the advice I find the most useful is finding a mentor at the beginning of a career. I concluded that networking could play a critical role in job search and subsequent professional development. The discussion of the shortage of nurses pushes me to think that my future activities are significant, and I will be able to contribute to the population’s health substantially. However, it is crucial to take care of my own health. Thus, communication with actual healthcare employees can be informative and inspiring.


Carson-Newman University Online. (2021). 21 nursing trends we expect to see in 2021 (Updated). Carson-Newman University. Web.

Catton H. (2020). Global challenges in health and health care for nurses and midwives everywhere. International Nursing Review, 67(1), 4–6. Web.

Curry, M. (2021). Nursing leadership styles: How to play an influential role in your practice. Nursingcecentral. Web.

Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki-Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017). Importance of leadership style towards quality of care measures in healthcare settings: A systematic review. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 5(4), 73. Web.

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NursingBird. 2023. "An Interview With a Chief Nursing Officer." November 1, 2023.

1. NursingBird. "An Interview With a Chief Nursing Officer." November 1, 2023.


NursingBird. "An Interview With a Chief Nursing Officer." November 1, 2023.