1. Section Editor(s): Davis, Charlotte BSN, RN, CCRN

Article Content

As nursing continues to expand into specialized fields, we must ensure that we have nurse leaders in place with the skill set to guide our profession. To meet the changes of tomorrow, we need to begin preparing nurses for their future leadership roles today. We can do this at the unit, organizational, and national levels.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

We can start by cultivating those nurses who possess natural leadership abilities and have acquired the educational foundation to facilitate short- and long-term organizational goals. One way to mentor future nurse leaders is to involve them in task forces, work groups, and committees within your healthcare organization. This allows them to see the big picture and the needs of the healthcare facility, as well as understand how problems are identified, action plans implemented, and efficacy evaluated. Another common way to foster leadership skills in our fellow nurses is to encourage them to take charge of a unit- or organization-level activity, such as skills fairs, educational projects, or implementing new core measures to meet national guidelines.


Future nurse leaders will benefit from opportunities to shadow successful leaders within your healthcare facility. This will increase their professional insight, allow them to see the vital components of how organizational decisions are made, and introduce them to how barriers to goals are overcome. They'll become familiar with organizational structure, procedural pathways, and interventions for resolving system issues and interpersonal conflict. Observing a strong nurse leader can also shed light on how to craft budgets and allocate financial resources.


Professional nursing organization leaders can mentor future nurse leaders by sharing their insight on pending legislative actions that may impact the nursing profession. They can convey their organization's mission, as well as its short- and long-term goals. This will expose future leaders to legislative system processes and teach them how to effectively communicate with legislative representatives about the effect of pending laws on patient care, nurses, and the healthcare industry. They'll also gain valuable knowledge about how organizational priorities for nursing are identified and political action committees developed.


Lastly, we must encourage our colleagues to increase their educational level to a minimum of a BSN. Moreover, an advanced practice degree can prepare future nurse leaders to meet the needs of tomorrow's nursing profession by helping them grasp the common global picture of their specialty field and expanding job opportunities.


Remember that the success of our profession relies heavily on mentoring and cultivating our future nurse leaders. Let's start today!