What is Leadership in Nursing?

What skills do hospital travel nurses need to excel at leadership? If you want to be a nurse leader—like an emergency services manager or labor and delivery director—develop these skills.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of nursing leadership. Excellent leaders can further their careers and elevate the entire nursing profession. Here are the skills you need to succeed as a nursing leader.

Honesty. Nursing leaders should exhibit integrity since it’s the hallmark of an excellent leader. You can’t expect honesty from your staff if you’re not being honest yourself.

Time. Being a leader means more work, especially when your team is short-staffed. So, managing your time well, and your staff’s, will pay dividends in the long run.

Technology. Healthcare and nursing are becoming more digitized all the time. Physical files and charts have given way to online records and computer data processing. While you don’t need to know everything about data analysis, you should understand the technology pertinent to your expertise. If you’re not tech-savvy, now’s the time to bone up on your skills so you can advance your career and be an asset to the medical industry.

Fortitude. The tension associated with handling sticky situations is synonymous with leadership. Things will go wrong, and as a leader, you’ll have to bear the brunt of the conflict. Learning to handle these situations with grace takes practice—as does working things out for the good of both parties.

Confidence. Healthy confidence in your abilities encourages your team to follow you. Being confident doesn’t mean being arrogant: it’s believing you’re doing the right thing. And a confident leader creates a positive work environment.

Empathy. You might have become a nurse because of your empathetic nature. But as a supervisor, you must direct your compassion toward patients and staff alike. Doing so will gain their trust and make you approachable.

Communication. Nurses who communicate poorly won’t go far as leaders. Communication encompasses every aspect of nursing. Interacting with patients, families, administrators, doctors, and support staff comes with the territory. You’ll need to represent the nurses working on your team as well as the interests of the hospital leadership. It’s a balancing act that requires sharp communication skills.

Flexibility. Depending on the circumstance or audience, you may need to adjust how you lead. Good nursing leaders can effectively employ a variety of leadership styles, including democratic, servant, and transformational leadership. But nurses who can switch from one leadership style to another as needed will stand out and be more effective leaders.

While these are just some of the skills necessary to excel as a nurse leader, nurses who master them can become great leaders in their chosen fields.

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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.