5 Tips for the Nurse Leader
As with any leadership role, a nurse will face a variety of challenges that will test his or her ability to successfully lead a team. More often than not, these challenges will be specific to the healthcare industry, which means their decisions will directly affect their own department, the larger facility, and potentially even a patient’s care. It is a heavy but rewarding burden to bear if you possess the skills necessary to excel. So, what does it take to be an effective nurse leader?
Image via Flickr by Walt Stoneburner
To become a leader in your field, you must first take any possible steps to better qualify yourself for the position. Earning your MSN is a great way to hone the leadership skills you already possess as well as develop new ones specific to the health industry. You’ll benefit from a solid educational foundation with many firsthand experiences in a clinical setting that will serve you well as you go on to lead a nursing team.
Grow with the Industry
As a nurse leader, it is critical that you stay on top of any new developments in your field. Your team will look to you for answers when it comes to new technology, practices, and policies within the industry and your specialization in particular. Subscribe to professional journals and attend educational workshops whenever your schedule allows so that you can remain a knowledgeable authority figure for your team members to depend on.
A stand-out nurse leader is proactive about getting involved professionally and personally. Step up and take charge anytime the opportunity presents itself, volunteer to be a part of special task forces or committees, and be an avid participant in community activities, such as the March of Dimes or heart walks, sponsored by your organization.
Sometimes, healthcare settings are too stressful and fast-paced to properly foster relationships with your team members. However, you should make a point to bond with your staff so they know you can be trusted, and that you have their best interests at heart. Even the little things matter, so acknowledge their achievements whenever you can.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
Your staff’s success depends heavily on your ability to communicate with them. Make sure you thoroughly explain what you expect from your team and ensure they know what they’re accountable for. Healthcare settings are delicate and depend on personal responsibility, so there is no room for confusion. Make sure your staff knows they can come to you with questions and concerns without fear of being reprimanded so they can better understand their duties and grow as a healthcare provider.
A successful nurse leader begins his or her journey with a desire to grow and guide. In your leadership role, you will be responsible for every success and failure, every change, and every confrontation. It is not an easy job, but it is a satisfying one. As such, you will need to employ these practices and many more in order to excel.