Diamonds in the Rough (Why Smart Healthcare Leaders Nurture Employees’ Talents)

A quick review of job postings for nurses and medical professionals reveals many employers seek to hire senior-level folks from outside of their own organization. This is sometimes necessary. However, it does beg the question why more leaders aren’t promoting from within.

If you’re a supervisor or manager in need of seasoned healthcare workers, now might be a good time to focus on internal employee development. Here’s a brief roadmap:


Plan Ahead

One reason many employers don’t promote from within is they fail to plan ahead. One cannot take an entry-level medical worker and make her a supervisor overnight. Successful staff development requires patience and forethought.

View every nurse and employee as a potential leader from day one. Ask yourself what position they may fill one day down the road. Take the time to train them, even if you’re busy. Waiting until the last minute and placing an urgent job ad may be “the easy way out,” but it’s not the most resourceful.

Identify Strengths & Weaknesses

Planning ahead requires you to quickly identify your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Does John roll up his sleeves and quickly offer help at a moment’s notice? Perhaps his fearlessness suggests that he might one day be a great trainer for new hires.

Is Maria very thoughtful and meticulous in her duties? Maybe this is a sign that she has what it takes to supervise a healthcare team and ensure they learn best practices.

Learn Your Employees’ Career Goals

Once you’ve identified your team members’ respective strengths and weaknesses, you must also inquire about their career goals. Just because you think Sara might make a terrific future nurse manager doesn’t mean she shares the dream.

Again, it’s important to start this process early. If and when you find congruity between employees’ ambitions and strengths, you can focus on finding ways to groom them appropriately. Always remember to never force a square peg into a round hole!

Create a Promotion Roadmap With Timelines & Expectations

Identifying career goals and strengths is great, but it’s meaningless without an executable plan and realistic timeline. You should provide your healthcare team members with clear milestones and promotion expectations. And, always remember to honor your end of the bargain as well.

If you tell Cindy she’s likely to serve as a supervisor within two years, assuming she performs at an acceptable level, be sure to follow through with your commitment. Don’t promise promotions until you can confidently commit to goal expectations and timeframes.


Most of us realize that medical professionals usually aspire to grow within their company. Nothing is more demoralizing than getting passed up for a promotion by an outside job candidate. As a healthcare manager, you should also recognize that the best leaders often result from internal promotions.


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If your company or facility is in need of great nurses or healthcare workers, be sure to contact San Diego’s top medical recruiting firm!


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