Are you the type of nurse who notices when behaviors, processes, and procedures at work leave room for improvement? Do you often develop strong opinions about how your patients could be better served? Do colleagues come to you with questions? Do you have a natural tendency to take newer nurses under your wing? If so, you may have the makings of a great nurse leader!
Dare to Take Your Career to the Next Level
The world needs nurse leadership now more than ever before. Consider the current talent gap in health care. Today’s nursing shortage is only projected to grow as the baby boomer generation ages, increasing demands for care while also ushering a significant cohort of knowledgeable and experienced nurses into retirement.
Relatively new nurses will soon represent nearly half the pool of practicing RNs, which makes nurse training and management, clinical standards leadership, and the professional development of new nursing leadership all the more important.
Combine these demographics with the current value-based trend in which reimbursement is tied to outcomes, and you get a set of needs that equal huge career opportunities for nurse leaders.
5 Key Qualities and Behaviors of a Leader in Nursing
If you’re a "big-picture" thinker and have an unshakeable commitment to setting high standards, a world of opportunity awaits you in nursing leadership. As you strive to take your career to the next level, these five key qualities and behaviors will help you get there:
- Measurement: To assess performance, set strategic objectives, communicate effectively with the c-suite, and advocate for patients and nurses...to do any of these leadership functions successfully, you need to know your measures. Learn what matters to the health of your organization, and pay attention to the numbers that measure outcomes such as quality of care, safety, patient and employee satisfaction, productivity, length of stay, readmission rates, and costs per patient.
- Excellence: A great nurse leader is always striving for excellence, and that requires assessing how the organization is doing, identifying priorities for improvement, setting measurable objectives, leading teams to achieve them, and celebrating those successes. Several studies have shown an association between collaborative, transformational nurse leadership styles (characterized by the ability to inspire others to action) and improved patient outcomes.
- Empowerment: To get the best performance from your care team, build in personal accountability for following through on commitments. Emphasize team-building fun, empower nurses to use their skills and talents to the full extent of their ability, and give ongoing rewards and recognition for performance.
- Culture: Be thoughtful about the culture you define and emulate for your organization and your team, because it sets the tone for everything, from behavioral expectations to client service. An effective nurse leader reinforces the mission and values of their organization when they explain the reasons for their decisions, and strives to always put the organization’s culture and standards into practice as a role model with their own actions and leadership style.
- Leadership development: The result of great nursing leadership is a team that functions well under pressure, even when you’re not looking. Great leaders are abundantly generous with their knowledge: always teaching, always developing and empowering a new generation of leadership, looking ahead, preparing for contingencies, and thinking about succession planning.
Dare to be your best nurse self with CE courses and training from BAYADA. To learn more, visit NursesWeek.com.