Right now, nurses are in the spotlight. And not because it’s the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, or because it’s Nurses Month…but because so many of you are there on the frontlines, along with colleagues in other disciplines, fighting COVID-19 head-on. Many are tired and weary and many wish for life – both at work and at home – to return to some variation of ‘normal.’
Remember that you are a leader, no matter your role or setting, whether at the bedside, in the clinic, in the classroom, visiting patients in their homes, or in a boardroom. You may be facing the stress of caring for critically ill patients or learning how to effectively provide care via telemedicine. You may be interpreting the research as it comes out to field questions from family and friends who turn to you to make sense of headlines and news conferences. How you respond and your actions speak volumes.
10 Tips to Lead Like a Nurse
Here are quick tips to help you demonstrate leadership. What would you add to this list?
- Be prepared.
- Be safe.
- Set an example.
- Actively listen.
- Seek mentors and be a mentor.
- Solve problems.
- Share your voice.
- Demonstrate respect and kindness.
YOU are a Leader
Do you consider yourself a nurse leader? Ask yourself these questions below. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of them, you are a leader. Why? Because ALL nurses are leaders.
- Are you an expert? We all have certain things that we are good at. What are some of the things that your colleagues come to you for repeatedly? Is it a question about a certain diagnosis or patient population? Or maybe you are the go-to person for placing I.V.s when there is a patient who is a difficult stick.
- Are you an educator? Do you teach students or new nurses or precept new-to-your-unit nurses? Do you teach colleagues from other disciplines about the unit where you work? What about patient education? (We all do this one!)
- Are you an advocate? Do you speak up for your patients and their families? How about for yourself? Your colleagues? The nursing profession?
- Are you a role model? Do you take on the charge nurse role? Do you collaborate effectively with other nurses and other members of the health care team? Are you a nurse that others strive to be like? Do you model healthy behaviors for patients and the public?
- Are you a voice for our profession? Are you educated about the issues affecting nursing and health care? Are you a committee member at your institution? Are you a member of a professional nursing organization? Are you involved in local, state, or national boards?
- Are you a nurse? How often do family members and friends come to you with a health-related question or advice? The title ‘nurse’ signifies leadership to those around us.
Thoughts on Leadership
I’ll leave you with these inspirational words from some of the nurses who’ve inspired me.
“The work of nursing happens in the moment but can have a lifetime impact.”
Angelleen Peters Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN
Nurses Make Profound Impacts
“Be authentic – know yourself and know nursing” and “Recognize the importance of team – respect strengths and boundaries.”
Connie Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP
The Power of Informal Conversations and Bold Relationships
“We understand what happens with patients, we understand how things work in clinical organizations, and we are the most trusted profession.”
Mary Ann Fuchs, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
The Unique Perspective of Nurses
“Nurses have firsthand knowledge of views and concerns of patients and families.
Nurses know how to achieve high quality care.
Nurses can offer innovative solutions to improve safety and quality.
Nurses understand the need for collaboration across professions and settings.
Nurses are great listeners and ask questions to better understand.
Nurses respect a wide range of professional roles and skills, helping us work as effective team members.”
Angela Patterson DNP, FNP-BC, NEA-BC
Nurses – The Keepers of Patients’ Stories
Stay strong and keep leading like a nurse!