Leadership is an essential skill required for success, regardless of one’s profession. However, it holds even greater significance in nursing, where nurse leaders combine inspiration, communication, insight, and direction with effective organizational skills for optimal results.
Nurse leaders apply their skills to prioritize safety and quality care. They direct and oversee teams of nurses, ensuring positive patient outcomes while advocating for their patient’s welfare and upholding a desirable and professional etiquette at the workplace.
So if you want to hone your leadership skills as a nurse, here’s what you must do:
Work on improving your knowledge
While working as a nurse leader, it is essential to possess both clinical skills and business acumen. So, to become proficient in this area, you must take a proactive approach and learn more about your organization’s structure. This includes everything related to the decision-making processes and how to manage teams. It would also be helpful to familiarize yourself with ways to address organizational challenges to be able to overcome them.
You can also enroll in online clinical nurse leader programs that help nurses sharpen specific skills required to become effective leaders in healthcare settings. These courses help nurses improve their soft skills, such as time management, communication skills, people management, and clinical know-how, and enable them to learn to effectively manage staff and patients on the floor.
You will never be able to make an impact as a nurse leader if you are a sideline sitter. Instead, get in the game and challenge yourself. Doing so will help you feel confident about yourself in your role as a leader. Consider taking on tasks that involve testing your abilities, such as asking for a leadership role or signing up for organizational projects.
Participating in professional organizations and volunteering to serve on committees may also provide valuable networking benefits. Similarly, attending nursing conferences will offer you firsthand exposure to other nurse leaders and additional networking opportunities.
Take out time to know others
Competent leaders typically rank high in a personal trait that comes naturally to nurses: empathy. As a nurse, you consistently demonstrate empathy and compassion towards your patients and their loved ones. However, as you take on a leadership role, it becomes equally important to extend that same level of understanding and acceptance to your colleagues.
Showing a genuine interest in the emotions experienced by your team members, such as recognizing when a nurse is struggling after a personal loss or is overworked, helps build understanding, trust, and teamwork.
Exceptional nurse leaders, whether working in the boardroom or bedside, communicate regularly with their team members and go out of their way to understand their needs and aspirations. By demonstrating a sincere desire to help others, they are rewarded with the loyalty and confidence of their patients, coworkers, and employers.
Learn more about yourself
Self-awareness is crucial to success as a leader, and achieving it often involves the willingness to self-reflect. Great leaders take the time to understand who they are, including their strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to improve.
As a healthcare professional, evaluating your clinical limitations and finding growth opportunities to improve them is important. Equally important is emotional awareness, which enables you to manage stress and make better, more-informed medical and organizational decisions.
Effective leaders understand their emotional triggers and take steps to manage their reactions. It is also important to trust your intuition, given that a nurse’s instincts can be invaluable in healthcare-based decision-making and crisis management. At the end of the day, this sixth sense can benefit nurse leaders in both clinical and administrative settings.
Find a mentor
While imitation is said to be the best form of flattery, it can also be an effective way to enhance your leadership skills as a nurse. The easiest way to achieve this is by Identifying individuals with leadership qualities you admire and trust. Observe how they interact with others and their strategies to motivate and influence people, including those in higher positions.
Pay attention to how your mentor handles critical situations and empowers team members. Seek guidance on improving your soft skills. Efficient and confident leaders are always willing to share their success secrets.
Furthermore, commit yourself to impart the knowledge you acquire by mentoring a colleague. Guide and support them through the difficulties they may encounter. This is because improving your ability to motivate a colleague will be useful as you progress further into leadership roles in the nursing field.
Work on your ability to adapt to change
Maintaining a proactive approach and a clear vision are crucial characteristics that nursing leaders must possess when coping with an ever-evolving healthcare system.
The healthcare industry is subject to constant change because of discoveries in medicine, rising healthcare problems among people, and health regulations and policies. These changes can affect how healthcare systems function. Therefore, nurse leaders must develop the ability to adjust to these changes, as this will enable them to maintain enthusiasm and inspire their coworkers to do the same.
When embarking on a journey as a nurse leader, you will likely be enthusiastic and eager to perform your duties. However, feeling somewhat nervous and uncertain about your readiness for this phase in your nursing profession is natural. Regardless of whether it is the job you have long anticipated, new roles always bring new challenges. Nevertheless, incorporating the tips mentioned above will set you on the path toward becoming an excellent nurse leader in no time!