Nurses across all care settings and experience levels are being called upon to lead. In a 2011 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine examined the ways nurses could more fully apply their knowledge of direct patient care to address the increasing demands placed on the health care system since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The report asked: "What roles can nursing assume to address the increasing demand for safe, high-quality, and effective health care services?"
Multiple variables influence a nurse's ability to assume a leadership role, and multiple barriers to these roles continue to exist. This article uses the first-person voice to share the experience of a new graduate nurse in a formal nurse residency program who found himself in a position to identify the need for, advocate for, and ultimately influence a policy change in the staffing practice of floating as it was applied to new RNs on his unit. In a retrospective analysis of the process, the new graduate RN and his former professor acting as a writing mentor developed a leadership framework for nurses called RN LEADER, which they hope will empower and guide other nurses to lead evidence-based change in their workplaces.