To be a nurse is to be a leader. Strong nurse leadership skills involve your personality and behavior. While not all nurses seek leadership positions, nurturing your nurse leadership skills will benefit you no matter what. Leadership skills aren’t even specific to nurses; any healthcare professional can be a leader. For nurses, these characteristics and skills start developing during nursing school, or even before, and carry the best nurses throughout their careers.
As the most numerous healthcare workers and the most trusted professionals in healthcare, nurses are the present and the future. Without US, healthcare cannot evolve. Regardless of what path you wish to take, you have the capability to set the tone on your unit. What exactly does that mean? In short, for any nurse who demonstrates a lead-by-example mentality, other nurses will follow.
Essential Nurse Leadership Skills
To promote the best work environment and culture, nurse managers should exhibit the top leadership characteristics. Nurses of all experience levels can influence their team and culture by demonstrating these characteristics themselves. Who doesn’t like to work alongside people who are great leaders?
- Integrity- Most nurses enter the profession with a strong moral and ethical foundation. However, as a nurse leader, there is nothing like integrity to set a great example. Others will witness your consistent effort to maintain transparency. This is a great way to lead by example. Allow others to see your successes and failures and don’t ask others to perform tasks you aren’t willing to perform yourself.
- Critical thinking- Being able to exhibit strong critical thinking skills allows leaders to anticipate future changes. Nurses who use their intuition as well as their practical, analytical mind are better equipped to make necessary decisions. Those decisions may impact patients and fellow staff.
- Professional communication- Effective communication is an essential skill in healthcare, especially in patient care. With the need for continuous collaboration with inter-professional colleagues, good listening skills and feedback is crucial.
- Respect- It is always best practice to have respect for others. Respecting others does not mean you have to agree with everything others say and do. Respect is exhibited when leaders show kindness and fairness to everyone.
- Mentor- Be the person you wish you had when you were starting your career. Help others grow and learn as they develop their experience and skill set.
- Accountability- To be a successful leader, you must hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities, and your goals. Doing this builds trust among your followers. It is ok and normal to make errors along the way, but a leader is willing to learn from them.
- Emotional intelligence- The ability to put yourself in others' shoes is a strong indicator of emotional intelligence. Good leaders with this skill not only manage their own emotions, but are also able to recognize the emotions of others.
- Adaptability- Healthcare is evolving, so being able to adapt to changes is a critical skill for nurses to have. When leaders are able to demonstrate flexibility and agility when things don’t always go as planned, it sets a example to follow.
- Professional development- Evolving healthcare supports the need for continued education for nurses. This allows nurses to remain up to date on current trends and necessary changes.
- Dedication- As nurses, we are tasked with providing safe and competent patient care. We are also a crucial part of the healthcare team. With varying degrees of effort, the nurses who go above and above will consistently stand out. Dedicated nurses strive to perform their best and be the best they can be. This does not mean that nurses won’t fail or make mistakes; it means that they never stop trying and learning.
Final Thoughts on Excellent Nurse Leadership
These qualities are not specific to only nurses in leadership roles. All nurses can be leaders, regardless of where they are in their practice and regardless of their experience level. You never know when your actions and behaviors can influence others; people are always watching. Learn more about how nurses support nurses here!
Do you ever slip on a super soft scrubs top and feel instantly comfortable? The Melanie Scrub Top is THAT top. With a V-neck and modern fit with princess lines that move when you move in our amazing 4-way-stretch, breathable… read more
About the Author:
Krystle Maynard is the creator of Innovative RN Solutions and has been a nurse for over a decade. She has specialized in medical-surgical and critical care nursing, in addition to having a long-standing history of being an adjunct faculty member for a college of nursing. Innovative Nurse Solutions focuses on healthcare content writing (such as blogs, E-books, emails, academic coursework, and educational content for healthcare personnel and patients). Krystle also offers tutoring and mentor services for undergraduate and graduate nurses. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and children, and her two favorite hobbies are traveling to various destinations (mainly beaches) and concerts. If you would like to connect, you can reach her on Linked In or visit her website at Innovative RN Solutions.