Nursing leadership — tips for managing remote teams

4 min read


Nursing leaders lead their team in the direction of the mission and vision of the company. Their goal is to inspire and engage their team members while managing other administrative tasks such as:

  • Quality measures
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Budgeting 
  • Managing nursing teams

Nurses managing remote teams adds another dimension to an already demanding and challenging role. 

Challenges of managing remote teams 

According to a Gallup poll, 70% of an employee's engagement is led by their manager. This can be difficult, especially for nurse leaders who are managing teams from home. Other challenges nurse leaders may face include:

  • Employee isolation
  • Lack of face to face time
  • Use of telehealth communication
  • Distractions at home 
  • Effective communication

Adapting to manage remote teams

More teams are being managed remotely due to the flexibility and immediate access to technology. It also is necessary today because of COVID-19. Adapting to working remotely can be difficult. However, with clear systems in place, nurse leaders managing remote teams can improve productivity. 

Creating clear systems

It's the nurse leader's responsibility to make sure their team members know their roles and responsibilities. You must create clear systems to ensure projects are complete and deadlines are met. Clear systems also highlight clear processes. Thisincludes defining who, what, where, when, and how:

  • Who do I call or contact for questions and/or emergencies?
  • Who is my direct contact person?
  • What are my roles and responsibilities?
  • What are the goals for the team and the company?
  • Where do I find important information and work responsibilities?
  • When is my project or task deadline? 
  • How do I get in contact with you? 

When managing teams remotely, maintain vigorous energy and encourage team participation. To do this, communication is essential as it establishes:

  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Engagement 
  • Defined goals
  • Explicitdirections
  • Ascertained roles and responsibilities 

Effective communication 

Since you can't maintain daily face-to-face meetings while managing teams remotely, effective communication is critical. It's important to keep communication lines open while also maintaining boundaries for yourself and your team. To keep communication open, nurse leaders should: 

  • Listen objectively
  • Conduct frequent remote huddles
  • Schedule 30-minute, one-to-one meetings weekly, biweekly, or monthly 
  • Encourage team members to turn their cameras on during virtual meetings 

Face-to-face meetings

Face-to-face meetings will not always be possible. Therefore, conducting one-to-one virtual meetings is important. Studies show these meetings allow team leaders to pinpoint where they may be struggling on projects or where they're excelling. It also promotes inclusivity. One study shows the benefits of one to one meetings helps team leaders:

  • Inspire 
  • Coach 
  • Mentor
  • Motivate
  • Problem solve 
  • Create energizing environments
  • Solve unforeseen issues 

If face-to-face meetings are necessary:

  • Make them brief
  • Remain socially distanced and contactless
  • Conduct in open spaces with sufficient ventilation 
  • Wash hands
  • Wear masks 

Telehealth communication tools 

Nurse leaders can use many telehealth and technology communication tools for effective communication with their remote teams. Telehealth communications have plenty of benefits. Telehealth communications:

  • Provide flexibility
  • Decrease costs
  • Improves the environment with fewer cars on the road
  • Increases productivity 

These tools also help manage teams easily. They keep projects and tasks organized. Some communication tools are:

  • Zoom- video conferencing
  • Webex - video conferencing
  • Microsoft teams - chatting and video conferencing
  • Google meet - video conferencing
  • Calendly - scheduling meetings
  • Trello - assigning tasks

How to combat challenges 

To combat challenges, nursing leadership needs to familiarize themselves with the challenges. Frequent communication with your team members gives you an idea of their pain points. It also will highlight which team members are struggling. 

Employee isolation

Employees who generally work better in a team setting may have a difficult time working from home. Take into consideration that they thrive in engaging and social environments. Try to encourage remote social events. 

Lack of person-to-person time 

Lack of person-to-person interaction can be challenging for nurse leaders. In-person meetings are meant to be engaging. They also encourage team participation. To combat the lack of face-to-face time, nurse leaders should conduct one-to-one meetings with team members and have face-to-face meetings when necessary.  

Use of telehealth communication 

Not every team member will know how to use telehealth communication. You, as the nurse leader, may not know either. Create time to make sure everyone on the team understands how to use the different communication platforms. Create a space so they can ask questions. 

Distractions at home

Working from home can have many distractions. Team members may have children or do not live alone. It's important to be flexible. Choose times for meetings that are convenient for both you and your team members.

Providing opportunities even from afar

Providing opportunities for team members is very important for team morale and the growth of the company. Nurse leaders should keep team members informed on other opportunities they might find interesting or want to apply to. Other opportunities include:

Managing remote is a unique way to supervise team members. Nurse leaders must adapt to changing times and realize managing remotely may become the norm. There are many benefits to managing remotely, and it can be very productive and rewarding. Make sure there are clear processes, systems, and communication in place.

Joelle Y. Jean, RN, FNP-BC


Joelle Y. Jean, RN, FNP-BC


Joelle Y. Jean, RN, FNP-BC

Joelle Y. Jean is a Family Nurse Practitioner with over 14 years of nursing and management experience. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at New York University and her Master in Nursing at Long Island University. She currently works for CVS Minute Clinic as a Family Nurse Practitioner, and is the volunteer ambassador for the New York region. Joelle lives with her husband, two children, and cat named Zuzu in Queens, NY. She loves to spend quality time with her family and friends and practices yoga.