Enhancing Leadership and Management of Nurses

Enhancing Leadership and Management of Nurses

When it comes to nurses and nurse practitioners everywhere from doctor’s offices to school programs, many people think that the hierarchy goes downward from doctors to nurses. But for many institutions, there is an extra step in the form of head nurses who often work in leadership positions and manage smaller nurse teams.

Those who want to reach a higher position in the nursing field, take on more responsibility, have more of a say in how patients are treated, and become a leader and manager of nurses, can! It just takes a lot of work, discipline, and some extra skills. Thankfully, there are plenty of leadership strategies and management principles that nurses can use to become better leaders, as this article will explore.

What does being a nurse leader entail?

But before we delve too deep into how to become a better leader in the nursing space, let’s quickly focus on what being a leader of nurses actually means. Nursing leadership is when nurses in management or other senior positions manage the nurses below them. These leaders are trained to guide and support other nurses as they work to achieve their goals and provide better care for patients.

Nurse leaders make sure that nurses are providing the best care for their patients and that they are following the rules and good standards of care for both health and safety. These nurse leaders can help solve problems and ensure that the hospital or medical institution runs freely and well. Additionally, excellent leaders will always be able to use their expertise to solve problems with a level head and strong guidance within their team.

Nursing leaders and managers hold some of the most important positions in a hospital or medical institution, and being a great leader and manager ensures that the institution can handle everything that comes its way. So, nurses shouldn’t be afraid to work on improving their skills for the betterment of everyone!

Nursing leadership skills you need to know

Some common leadership strategies and management principles can help you become a much better leader, and here are some of the skills that you need to know about and that you also need to attempt to improve upon.

Maintaining and enforcing high standards

If nurses start to slack off in their standards of care, that means that they are not only putting their patients at risk but are also setting up a culture of nurses not putting their best forward for their patients and for one another. Many of the great nursing leaders uphold quality standards for every single task that they complete, even the really small and seemingly insignificant tasks. Additionally, many nursing leaders are role models for newer nurses, who can see that the head nurses are dedicating themselves to excellent performance and service in everything they do.

Then those newer nurses will attempt to emulate what they see and will understand that if their leaders are doing it, they should start doing it too. Nurse leaders try to keep the standards high and continue to motivate their team and their place of work to hold to these high standards as well, and they also try to find places where the teams and organizations can improve and get better.

Having a high emotional intelligence

It is no secret that the world of nursing, especially whenever you add in a hospital, is an extremely emotional and hectic place, where things can get very stressful and crazy on a bad day. Nurse leaders need to have the high emotional intelligence to stand above all of that and take on problems without allowing high stress emotions to get the better of them.

Additionally, being calm and having a high emotional intelligence also allows for certain situations in the hospital to be resolved without any problems. Some situations simply need to be handled with care before they escalate, and many nurses need to be shown and taught the skills needed in order to make sure they can listen to the patients and resolve situations without making them worse.

Communication and collaboration

As the leader of a team, especially a team that is inside of a hospital or other medical institution, you need to be able to foster a culture of communication and collaboration. Nursing is not a single player game, and many nurses collaborate with and talk to doctors, other nurses, and other departments inside of the hospital to make sure that everything is running smoothly and that the schedules and various other issues inside the hospital are all taken care of.

Having a manager nurse that you can go to at any time to get some extra help ensures that communication continues and the channels for communication are clear. Whenever a nurse manager runs into a communication issue and must step in to help, they also need to understand why that communication issue happened and ensure it won’t happen again.

Make sure to take the time to ensure that your communication channels are open and that you and your staff knows how to use them, and then all of your employees will be comfortable knowing how to use them and will be more likely to reach out and talk to one another.

Focus on the patients and their families

As a nurse practitioner, you will need to do what is best for the patients, and while this might seem like a no brainer, showing that the patient comes first is going to be a skill that every single nurse needs to see and understand. Great nurse leaders should focus on connecting with their patients and providing personalized care that is also attentive and designed to keep their lives safe.

For some nurses, they might find that their own personal ethics clash with what is needed to keep a patient safe, or what they recommend for their patient might go against the patient’s own code of ethics. In these scenarios, strong leadership as well as the unbending rule to treat the patient, is what is going to make all the difference.

A focus and drive for education

Additionally, as a leader you need to instill in your team that your hospital is going to be a place where learning continues to happen. It can be extremely easy for any doctor or nurse to start to become complement and spend their time doing the same procedures over and over again. But the world of modern medicine is going to become even more advanced as time goes on.

New illnesses, injuries, and ways to treat them are going to rise up, and new forms of technology such as AI and other methods of taking care of your patients are going to quickly become the norm. If you don’t spend a lot of time making sure that you and the team underneath you are focused on learning new skills and regularly topping off your old ones, then you are going to run into some pretty serious trouble as the medical world starts to advance and leaves you and your institution behind.

How to use these skills to support a team

While you might know what nursing skills you need to use as a leader or as a manager, you might wonder what skills you need to use to actually lead a team, or how to even lead a team of nurses in the first place. One of the best tactics you can use is the skill of active listening, which is something that even the great leaders sometimes overlook.

Leaders don’t just show up, throw a bunch of rules all over the place, and then start to demand or even expect that everyone does things their way. Instead, the best leaders start by actively listening to those that are underneath them and figure out how to make sure that the concerns of those underneath them are handled. Because the more problems you can solve as a leader, the more likely that other problems won’t become massive issues later on. Additionally, you get to build trust with your team by making the lives of your employees better, which can be extremely helpful whenever it comes to a high stress environment like a hospital.

How do you become a leader?

Nurses interested in leadership shouldn’t, don’t be afraid to learn about how to become a leader. Many leadership skills are ones that you need to figure out as you get started in leadership positions. It’s a trial by fire, but it will give you the most experience learning about different personalities, how to make a teamwork, and how to deal with conflict both internally and externally.

There are some things you can do to become a better leader. For example, you can seek out a mentor in the nursing field and see what they do as a leader. They will be able to take your hand and show you the skills you will need, and they can also help coach you through some of the challenges that you will be facing as a nurse leader. Plus, it is always nice to have someone you can count on for advice.

Additionally, nurses can learn some of these leadership and managerial skills with some simple education and courses. There are plenty of courses that provide the education needed to elevate a simple nurse to a nurse leader.

Taking nursing leadership courses online will ensure that nurses can learn the skills needed to be an amazing leader in the field. The University of Indianapolis, for example, has plenty of courses designed to refresh and retrain nurse skills required to lead a team with confidence. These include the Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing and Health Systems Leadership (MSN-NHSL) program. Designed for nurses, students complete the work on this course online and don’t need to sacrifice their current role to get a new degree. Students will develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed for a successful career, and they can fully benefit from the online course.

Don’t be afraid to focus on growing your leadership skills

Becoming a leader and then maintaining those leadership skills is often overlooked in the world of nursing, because so many people want to focus on treating patients and making sure that everyone who comes into their office is going to leave it much healthier than when they came in. But having good and competent leaders will make sure that the hospital and the staff within it run smoothly, which means that the patients who are undergoing care will be given more and better treatment, and the entire process will run much smoother.

Good leaders are going to make sure that the patients, the staff, and the entire process of medicine is taken care of and made better. So don’t be afraid to become the leader that your hospital needs, because a good hospital under good leadership is going to leave a legacy behind.