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Skills for Nurse Leadership

As a registered nurse and leader for almost 3 decades, I have had many opportunities to review resumes, cover pages, and interview job applicants. One common thread I have found is that people do not take enough time to review the job posting to fully understand what leadership skills the employer considers valuable and if the skills required are a good fit for their educational background and experiences. Possessing excellent leadership skills are important in the nursing industry, regardless of where you are in your career. Common leadership skills to possess are:

  • Teamwork. Nurse leaders are integral team members. They interact, communicate, and assist other team members in, striving for the best possible care for patients.
  • Communication. Strong verbal and written communication skills allow nurses to communicate in an effective and clear method.
  • Mentorship. Nurse leaders have the skills and tools needed to guide and mentor other nurses so they become leaders in their positions.
  • Lifelong Learners. Nurse leaders recognize that the nursing profession is constantly changing and that there are always ways to improve upon existing skills.
  • Innovative/Creative. Leaders in the nursing profession are also innovators. They can step outside of the norm and transform modern healthcare in a way that works better for patients.
  • Flexibility. The role of a nurse is ever-changing, and the ability to be flexible and adapt to new environments provides nurses with the confidence and morale they need to be leaders (Indeed.com, 2022).

If you do not feel that your leadership skills are fully developed, seek out additional responsibilities. Fill in when additional support is needed or take initiative to assist other staff with patient tasks. If your employer offers ongoing training groups or volunteer programs, you can also use these opportunities to develop additional skills, including leadership. To develop new skills, set measurable goals. Make a list of the skills you would like to develop in the short- and long-term, then determine what steps you will take to reach these goals. Be specific and direct with these steps, deciding how you will measure the success of your goals.

Lastly, commit to always learning. The healthcare industry is continually changing, making it crucial to keep up with the latest trends. Whether you attend nursing conferences, subscribe to a nursing publication, read books, or attend an academic nursing program, nurse leaders are always working to improve their knowledge in the nursing profession.

Varilek-Brandon_2020_1814631.jpgDenise Robertson, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CNLGNSA Leadership Council MemberUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham 

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