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Keys to Fostering Nurse Leadership Skills


In all professions, leaders are imperative to achieving success. That unquestionably reigns true in the nursing industry, as nurse leaders are a necessity in every health care setting. Nurse leaders are inspiring individuals who possess the skills needed to lead a team, despite their non-managerial title, and they are making a positive impact in health care through their dedication, guidance, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Additional Training and Education

One of the many ways nurses can gain leadership skills is through further training and education. Online RN to BSN programs such as those offered at Utica College, offer working or non-working nurses a means of furthering their education and advancing in their career.

The movement toward doctors in physical therapy - Utica College OnlineAdditional education is tremendously important in becoming a nurse leader, even for nurses who have been working in the field for a long period of time. Through advances in research and technology, the way health care facilities operate is much different than it was just ten years ago. Keeping up-to-date with these developments can go a long way in a nurse’s career, as this additional knowledge can positively affect work performance. Having the ability to perform in conditions where others cannot is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field and in turn build leadership skills.

The Mentor Method

Mentorship has been beneficial in developing leadership skills for nurses, as it supports nurses in becoming prepared and confident. As a result, finding a mentor who is a current nurse leader is an excellent way to learn. If your place of work doesn’t have a dedicated mentorship program, there are many other ways to acquire a mentor. There are a variety of nursing associations with active members who can be reached through association meetings, conferences or networking events. Nurses can build relationships with current leaders and learn from their experience. Most will happily share their knowledge with a nurse who wants to learn more.

Once a mentor has been acquired, one must develop a mentor/mentee relationship. Determine how much time your mentor is willing to spend with you on a weekly or monthly basis and coordinate regular meetings. HealthLeadersMedia.com suggests learning from a nurse leader with real-life experience in the field is priceless and could prepare you for situations you may have not even considered. Through this relationship you are not only gaining extremely valuable knowledge you can apply to your work, but you are also gaining a life-long friend.

Leadership Skill Development

Developing leadership skills is a constant process for aspiring nurse leaders. Nurse leaders specifically need to develop, communication and critical thinking abilities. In Pamela Hunt and Deborah Laughon’s book “The Nurse Leader’s Guide to Business Skillsthey illustrate that nurses need to effectively communicate with patients, staff and superiors of all generations. “The nurse leader is responsible for establishing the communication culture in their department”. Also, as nurse leaders are often guiding others, efficient communication is necessary for clear and concise instruction.

Fostering the skills needed to become a nurse leader is crucial for nurses who want to excel and prosper in their profession. While nurse leaders may not always hold managerial positions in the health care industry, these leaders are essential in the workplace. Nurse leaders often inspire and motivate their counterparts and are enthusiastic about their work. They are willing to help others who may be struggling and are often the first to respond in emergency or dire situations with solutions. Through further training, education and leadership development, any nurse can become a nurse leader and make a positive difference at their health care facility.

Fostering nurse leadership skills takes time and effort, but the rewards are high, as peers, superiors and the community, hold nurse leaders in high regard. Utica College RN to BS in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree has a long history of providing high-quality education to nursing students looking to become leaders in health care.