Why More Organizations Are Relying on Interim Nurse Leaders

Back to the Basics: When to Hire an Interim Nurse Leader


Interim Nurse Leaders play an integral role in healthcare organizations, particularly now in the midst of a pandemic. Because staff and leaders are in flux and patient volumes and revenues are falling, keeping quality and the patient experience at the forefront of the organizational agenda is key to optimizing reimbursement.

Interim Nurse Leaders fill a critical role in ensuring stability during changing circumstances of all kinds. They provide both clinical management expertise and commitment to delivering compassionate care in times of increased volatility and demand. Interim Nurse Leaders are a solution for managing change at the executive level while maintaining momentum and positioning for the future. 

With so much at stake, how do you know you’re choosing the best Interim Leader candidate for your healthcare organization? 

Leading Through Intention & Inspiration for Change


The departure of a leader, particularly an unplanned one, can leave an organization at a decision point of how best to continue with the organization’s initiatives, including the patient experience, quality metrics and financial performance.

Interim Nurse Leaders are the ideal solution for healthcare organizations in times of transition or surges in care. They manage, motivate and mentor nursing staff, observe clinical practice, manage budgets, and oversee reporting—value-added services from day one. Interim Nurse Leaders often come to the rescue for healthcare organizations at crucial times.  Far beyond placeholders, Interim Nurse Leaders quickly develop working relationships with interprofessional stakeholders to move the organization forward in a dynamic environment.

Interim Nurse Leaders can also serve as a valuable resource to newly appointed Nurse Leaders by encouraging their internal career progression. By connecting an Interim Nurse Leader who has the experience and education necessary to prepare and optimize leadership development, new Nurse Leaders are better equipped to perform the competencies and responsibilities of their new role.

Related Reading

What Factors Should the C-Suite Consider When Selecting an Interim Leader?


Recruiting for nurse leadership positions in today’s market is challenging and requires strategic foresight. It can take some time to recruit and hire that perfect fit leader to fill an executive role permanently. An increased number of healthcare organizations are turning to Interim Leaders to fill the gap. An Interim Nurse Leader addresses urgent leadership needs and keeps organizational initiatives moving forward.

The Interim Nurse Leader’s relationship with the C-Suite is a crucial component to the overall success of the organization and next permanent leader. Additionally, the best interim candidate will align well with the organization’s values, be a strong cultural fit, and possess core leadership competencies such as data-driven decision-making and communication skills. The ideal candidate will support the role of governance and partner with C-Suite executives to provide strategic input.

Qualities to Look for in an Interim Nurse Leader


What to look for:

  • High adaptability and agility
  • Life-long learner mindset
  • Strategic foresight
  • Ability to influence others
  • Culturally competent 
  • Mission-margin results focused
  • Inspires rapid cycle change
  • Self-driven and proactive disposition
  • Ability to engage and develop others
  • Demonstrates positive interpersonal communication skills
  • Commitment to achieving deliverables within a designated time frame


“Grounded leaders are present for others, operate with fortitude, and influence with the full impact of their vision and strength.”

― Catherine Robinson-Walker, Leading Valiantly in Healthcare: Four Steps to Sustainable Success

Interim Nurse Leaders Add Immediate & Measurable Value


Interim Leaders are valuable advisors who assure smooth and supportive transitions to a successful permanent Nurse Leader to:

  • Bridge leadership gaps
  • Keep the organizational initiatives on track
  • Boost the confidence of other stakeholders and leaders
  • Avoid the costs of a failed hire and re-recruitment

What to Look for in a Healthcare Executive Search Firm

C-Suite leaders should consider hiring a search firm that will act as an extension of their team in the candidate marketplace and to provide the best candidate to fulfill their operational needs. Engaging a trusted search partner is paramount; choosing the wrong firm can cost significant time and money.

What to look for:

  • An executive search firm that is solely focused on healthcare
  • A partner that can provide a national pool of diverse, seasoned, progressive Nurse Leaders
  • Critical competencies needed to address strategic challenges 
  • Deep understanding of interprofessional relationships, contemporary leadership practices and alignment of multiple stakeholders
  • Outstanding track record of providing effective Nurse Leaders who are skilled in producing rapid cycle change
  • Continued and effective communication
  • A depth of experience from diverse settings
  • A comprehensive client intake process 
  • Through sourcing, screening and interviewing processes
  • Cost-conscious approach

Achieve Successful Outcomes Without Interruption


Kirby Bates Associates (KBA) is a leading interim leadership and executive search firm providing efficient and seamless transitions with Interim Leaders who are prepared to hit the ground running and provide expert service beginning the first day. Demonstrating an outstanding track record, KBA’s healthcare executive placements have proven to be most successful in achieving organizational goals.

Contact us to learn more about how we can support your healthcare organization in securing the most qualified, diverse Interim Nurse Leaders.