Whether you’re currently enjoying a successful career as a registered nurse or are considering pursuing a future career in nursing, it’s hard to deny that this is a line of work that’s a great option for anybody who wants a caring, respected career with plenty of opportunities to progress.
When it comes to working your way up the career ladder in nursing, there are various opportunities to go for. Whether you want to move into a certain specialist nursing area, are thinking of practicing independently as a nurse practitioner, or want to move up the ranks into a management position, there’s no end to the opportunities that you can pursue as a registered nurse.
Many nurses start out as registered nurses and go on to lead teams, manage clinics, and even work on the executive board of hospitals and other large healthcare institutions. If you’re an ambitious nurse, nurse leadership might be a career idea that you aspire to. But, do you have what it takes to succeed in this position? Here are some of the most important traits for nurse leaders to have.
You’re Caring and Compassionate
Good nurse leaders need to be very caring people with an endless amount of compassion for their patients. Most nurses will go into this profession because they are passionate about helping and being there for others and want to offer support in every area of their career. If you struggle to imagine a job where you’re doing anything other than being caring and supportive of others and nursing is your calling, a career in nurse leadership could be the perfect option for you.
You’re Organized and Methodical
Being a nurse leader means that you need to keep track of your work at all times. Nurse leaders are faced with a huge amount of responsibility from day to day, including managing patients and running a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals. Not only are you responsible for your own time and tasks as a nurse leader, but you’ll need to manage your team to ensure that everybody is able to work together well. Time management skills in nursing are more important than ever before when working in this highly-ranked position. You’ll need to be ready to juggle long work shifts with family, friends, and any other commitments that you take on, like advancing your career even further or learning new skills. If doing a lot of things at once while still looking after yourself comes naturally to you, nurse leadership could be the perfect option for your career.
You Are Inspiring
If other nurses and healthcare professionals have often told you that you inspire them to be better at their work and are a good example to them, you could be the perfect fit for nurse leadership. As a good nurse leader, you need to be dedicated to inspiring and motivating others and helping them reach their full potential. The most effective nurse leaders are people who inspire their teams to work at their best abilities every day, are humble, approachable, and always willing to offer support. The best nurse leaders conduct themselves in a way that inspires others to be more like them.
You’re Highly Empathic
Working as a nurse leader means that you need to be empathetic not only with your patients, but also towards your team members. Working as a nurse leader means leading a team well, and you’re often going to be the first person that they go to when they are dealing with a problem either personally or professionally. A good nurse leader needs to be able to put themselves in the shoes of others and try to see other people’s situations from their point of view. For nurses who are already highly empathic and able to see things from their patients’ viewpoints, the transition into a nurse leadership position can be quite natural. However, it’s important that alongside having empathy, nurse leaders know where to draw boundaries and how to ensure that they have empathy for themselves as well as others.
You’re Mentally Strong and Tough
Nurses are some of the toughest and strongest people that you will ever meet. Every day as a nurse leader involves working long hours, supporting patients and colleagues, and dealing with situations that most people will only hear about. You’ll need to be mentally strong and tough to deal with some of the most difficult situations that you will face in this line of work. From comforting patients who are going through some of the worst times in their lives to supporting colleagues who have lost a patient that they were looking after, being a nurse leader is not easy emotionally.
You Thrive Under Pressure
As a nurse, working well under pressure is an essential skill that you will need to develop very quickly. If you are a registered nurse looking to get into nurse leadership, you’ll probably be able to think about some situations that you have been in in the past where you’ve had to make the right decision under immense amounts of pressure, perhaps even when it’s the difference between life and death for a patient. A good nurse leader is often under even more pressure than registered nurses, and the decisions that they make will often affect more people and carry a lot more weight. As a nurse leader, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the responsibilities that are on you when making decisions, and be ready to make the best choices and provide clear instructions to others even in the most high-pressure situations.
You Communicate Well
When it comes to nursing, excellent communication skills are more important than ever before. And as a nurse leader, communicating well with your patients and your team members is one of the most important things that you will do on a daily basis. Failing to communicate clearly with team members could have disastrous results for patients, so it’s important that you are constantly working on your skills when it comes to communicating clearly and getting the message across in a way that is easy for others to follow and understand. As a nurse leader, you will also be the first point of contact for staff members who are dealing with problems or have questions; active and attentive listening skills, including listening to understand rather than to respond, are crucial for nurse leaders.
You Have High Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is one of the key qualities that a good nurse can possess. And as a good nurse leader, you will often spend time working with students and trainee nurses in order to not only help them develop their clinical knowledge and skills, but also to set a good example to them when it comes to developing their emotional intelligence. High emotional intelligence is essential for nurses in order to help them cope with the stressors that come with daily work.
You’re a Good Mentor
As a nurse leader, you will be given the task of working with students who are learning how to be a good nurse. Nurse leaders are often responsible for shaping the nurses of the future, and mentorship skills are key for getting good results. You’ll need a lot of patience and teaching skills to work with nurses who are new to the career and empower them in their learning. Nurse leaders should work together with students and other established healthcare professionals to establish and promote a continuous learning culture. As a mentor, you need to know how to step back and provide autonomy to students and trainees, but also when to step in and offer help and support when needed.
You’re a Good Decision Maker
Managers and leaders in any setting are required to be good at making decisions. In the healthcare industry, those in leadership positions need to be excellent decision-makers, particularly in situations where the decisions that they make carry a huge amount of weight and have a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of others. Nurse leaders need to be able to make educated, well-informed decisions backed by data and research. But many decisions can be difficult to judge in such a complex environment. Nurse leaders need to be committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that they make the right decision, including seeking help and advice from others where needed.
You’re Committed to Providing the Best Care
A nurse leader needs to be somebody who is passionate about ensuring that patients are always provided with the best standard of care. You will need to be committed to ethical practices and put caring for your patients right at the top of your priority list while also making sure that it is the main priority for your team.
Nurse leaders are essential professionals in the world of healthcare today. They lead teams of healthcare professionals, advocate for patients, and ensure that the best standards of care are provided at all times. If you are a nurse who wants to take on more responsibility and inspire others to be their best, nurse leadership could be for you.