Nurses are born leaders. However, they don’t have to be in charge nurse positions to fill this role. I can find leadership qualities in all of my co-workers, just by focusing on their strengths. This article will help you look beyond patient care and how to establish yourself as a leader in your nursing profession.
To be a leader, you need a few essential qualities. Not possessing leadership qualities doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader. However, you might need to work on developing these skills. A few leadership qualities include:
- Team Player
- Growth Focused
Leadership Tips for Those Hesitant to Lead
Is being in a leadership role intimidating? Some people step into leadership roles with ease, while others need to put a bit more work and preparation to feel competent. If you are a bit hesitant, here are a few strategies you can use to ease the anxiety of being in charge.
1. Take a Leadership Role in Other Areas
If you don’t want to jump into a leadership role within your company, show initiative on a smaller scale. Is there a unit-specific or hospital-wide committee you could join? When you get involved in something like this, it shows leadership, even if you’re not the leader of the group.
2. Participate in Community Events
Many hospitals, agencies, and facilities participate in community events to reach their patient population. They are always looking for nurses to volunteer their time to help with these events. If you can, take the time to join in. This might mean setting up a booth at an event or leading a 5K. Recruit people to join your team to be the model for your company.
3. Become a Preceptor
Finding preceptors can be challenging. Most great preceptors do not realize how good they are at educating and training others. Becoming a preceptor shows incredible leadership skills as you help others grow professionally. Working as a preceptor might also help you stand out on the unit to managers and physicians.
4. Engage in Lifelong Learning
Always be at the forefront of change. This can be in the hospital and outside. If you read a new journal article on research applicable to your unit, present the evidence-based information that you learned to improve the current practice. Consider presenting at a huddle, monthly meeting or that committee you joined.
Get Ready to Shine As a Leader
The variety of activities you take on, such as participating in committees and community events, becoming a preceptor, and engaging in lifelong learning will develop your leadership skills. You might even find yourself filling a charge role because of your experience with other leadership roles.
It’s not always easy to dive into these areas. I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and try one or several of these activities. If you are passionate about it, along with the other leadership qualities we mentioned, you will grow as a nurse leader in no time!
Perform self-reflection to identify your leadership qualities. After identifying them, make a list of areas you need to develop further. Scope some areas where your leadership skills can shine. Get involved in your community with your company as a spokesperson. Ask your manager if you can help precept new nurses to be a leader in your department. Never stop learning because healthcare is an ever-changing field. Develop these skill sets, and you will go on to become a nurse leader!
Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of WriteRN.net.