Written by Joe Maillet | February 21, 2022
Nursing is a fulfilling job, and many nurses work their whole lives without thinking of changing roles. However, you might be doing yourself and the profession a huge disservice by not considering leadership positions. Nursing is in great need of leaders right now, and you might have all the qualities needed to be a great one.
If you’ve been praised for your ethics and discipline, then this is already a sign that you could be tailored for the position. Being a team member and having people constantly seek your advice and expertise and assistance is another. If you’ve never thought of being a nurse leader or you have thought about it but weren’t sure it was for you, here are some of the clearest signs that you are made to be a nurse leader.
You don’t need to be appointed to a leadership role to be a leader and you may have exhibited core leadership qualities without your knowledge. If you’re the one constantly taking initiative and people often thank you for doing something you weren’t asked to do, then this shows strong leadership. If you’re the one reminding people around you of protocols in a tactful way, or the one picking up the slack for others out of the goodness of your heart while still being able to confront them when needed, this is another sign of great leadership.
Being a leader isn’t about bossing people around; it’s mainly about integrity, personal responsibility, and accountability. It’s about making sure that everyone is on the same page, and identifying people’s strengths, attitudes, and tendencies to better delegate and predict outcomes. So, if that describes you, then nurse leadership could be the perfect position for you.
If you feel like you’re ready for something bigger and are always finding yourself trying to intervene in certain situations but are limited by your rank, then you should consider going for a leadership position. Maybe you’re noticing that certain procedures are outdated or that steps in protocols could be modified or removed. Or maybe you’re noticing inefficiencies in the ways stocks are managed or resources are allocated.
These are all areas where you could use your voice as a leader to spur actual change. You’ll be able to make the job of people on the ground easier and even instigate new ways of doing things that will long outlive your tenure. This is a great option for anyone who feels they are ready to take on more serious responsibilities and want to have a real effect on how things are done where they are.
Curiosity is another sign of a great leader. Great leaders are constantly looking at new procedures, technologies, and methodologies and try to see how they could apply them in their functions. Nurse leaders also have to be willing to get higher credentials as you can’t ascend to leadership roles just by demonstrating good leadership qualities.
If you feel like being a nurse leader is your calling and you’d like to get the credentials to qualify for leadership positions, we suggest you look at Baylor University and their online DNP leadership programs. Programs like these will allow you to complete your program 100% online while you keep your current job. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to work as a chief nursing executive, chief nursing officer, or vice president of nursing. This will allow you to make a real difference while getting much better pay and working conditions.
Good leaders also tend to be cool under pressure. They’re also the ones people defer to when they’re uncertain of what they should do and are great at adapting to different situations. Another sign that people see you as a leader is if people constantly come to you when they need positive reinforcement or a shoulder to cry on. If that’s you and you have always been known for being calm and collected no matter how chaotic things are around you, then nurse leadership is for you.
Another underrated sign of a great leader is the ability to read people and judge their character. As a nurse leader, you have to tell when someone is withholding information from you or when someone in your team is falling out. You have to be able to help people before they ask you for it. These are the little things that will make you an esteemed leader, and you’ll have people more willing to follow your lead.
Leadership is about people first and foremost and knowing what motivates people is incredibly important to be a good leader. Getting everyone on your team to give their 100% is one of the most important traits for a nurse leader, and if you can do that, you’ll have a long and fruitful career as one.
If someone in your circle has told you that you are an inspiration to them and that you pushed them to be better or even stay in the profession, then you should definitely look into a career in nurse leadership. Nurse leaders have to be inspiring and lead by example. They also have to get everyone on board without having to constantly push them. If you have great ethics, are always pulling your weight, and always take full responsibility when you’re doing something wrong, you might already be the leader of your group without knowing it.
If you weren’t quite sure whether you’d be a good nurse leader, or you have always known you would but needed a push, we hope we were able to help you in your decision. Working in a leadership role could give your career a second breath and open you up to a whole other side of the profession, so consider the option today and look at what you’ll need to get there.
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