Becoming an Effective Leader as a Nurse

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Whenever you think about nurses, you may think that they get assignments from doctors, of nurses who are higher up, and various other medical professionals. However, no matter what type of nurse you choose to be, you will find opportunities to be a leader and if you choose to develop the necessary skills, you can effectively lead a team within a healthcare environment. 

If you want to have more fun at work, really show off all that you can do, while making the lives of all the patients that you work with much better, consider a leadership position in nursing. Below you’ll learn why being a team leader and helping others work as a team is so effective whenever you start nursing.

Skills needed by all leaders

As a nurse, you have numerous skills that are needed by you and your team. In order to do your job, you will need to be effective at diagnosing patients, providing medication, and keeping yourself fully organized. However, as an effective leader, you will need a different set of skills that are used by leaders across fields.

Focus on communication

The first thing that can supercharge the growth of a team is communication. You need to be able to talk to your team and ensure that they can talk to one another. If you can’t effectively and quickly communicate with your team members and get responses quickly, then you have a serious problem. This problem can be a particularly damaging obstacle in the nursing department where effective communication is going to save lives and is often needed.

Whether it is through email, text, voice, or some other means, you need to ensure that you and your team know how to effectively get a whole of one another and can communicate effectively. Additionally, make sure that you and your team know how to communicate in periods of high stress, because sometimes the field of nursing causes a lot of stress.

If you can effectively communicate in a stressful period without feeling like your team is biting one another’s heads off, then you’ve hit a major milestone as a team. And that will help you save more lives and do your jobs effectively.

The ability to build others up

You might be the best leader on your team of nurses, but if your team doesn’t work well together the contributions made will be overshadowed by the mistakes. If you want to be an effective leader, you have to build the foundation for success by helping your team learn to cooperate.  

Having the ability to recognize a problem within your team, bring that problem to someone’s attention, and then to help them fix the problem is challenging, but critical. As a leader you have to balance attending to your patients while also regularly checking in on your team and providing feedback. 

You need to push for change

Whether you inherited a good team in a good location that is helping people around the clock, or a poor team that is barely hanging on and keeping the doors open, every single team has a point where they need to grow and make an overhaul of themselves. As a leader, you need to push forward and figure out how to make that change happen.

Even if it goes against the minds of some of the higher-ups, or they have a ‘this is how we have always done things attitude,” you need to be able to become a leader that seeks to make changes that are the best for everyone. Especially if the changes you are proposing are going to make life better for the patients under your care.

You need to be fully organized

Being a nurse often goes hand in hand with organization, but as a team leader you need to be even more organized because you won’t just be taking care of yourself and your patients, but also of your team and their work as well. Managing a team while also taking care of your own nursing responsibilities can be extremely challenging if you aren’t on top of everything, so being as organized as you can be will help you out.

What strategies can you employ to become a better leader?

Whether you work for a small clinic as the team leader for four people, or you work with hundreds under you at a doctor’s office, the strategies you can employ will be the same. An effective leader is only as good as the strategies they share with their team, and thankfully there are plenty of team building strategies you can use to become a much better leader of nurses.

Build trust and accountability

As a nurse where your job is to save lives and treat illnesses, you need to have trust in your team. If you don’t trust your team, or worse your team doesn’t trust one another, that can make doing your job extremely difficult. Helping team members get to know one another, and sharing all of your strengths and weaknesses can be extremely important as you all try to figure out how best to help one another. 

Additionally, recognizing team efforts is one of the best ways to ensure that your team keeps on trying to improve even if you aren’t micromanaging them. So don’t be afraid to reach out and let your team know when they worked together well or did a fantastic job.

Accountability is also another great reason to trust in your team. Don’t be afraid to find ways for your teammates to hold one another accountable and for you to hold your team accountable. Weekly reviews, check-ins, and other scheduled moments to hold your team to a high standard will allow you to ensure that your team isn’t letting anything fall through the cracks.

Taking the time to check in with your team is going to be the best way to iron out any cracks that might be forming, and it will make every process much better as a result. Pretty soon you all might even start looking forward to your meetings, especially if you respect your teammates and they respect you as a leader.

Lead by example

Finally, if you want to be a leader that a team of nurses looks up to, you should focus on leading by example. Be the type of person that you want your team to be. Lead by example and your team will follow. Accepting accountability, taking quality notes, showing up on time, and working alongside your team on difficult projects are all ways to lead by example. 

No one is perfect at anything on their first try, and you need to focus on finding your own leadership style. That’s going to be the best way to ensure that you are able to lead in a natural and comfortable way that will also inspire others.

Education to be a leader

Being a leader doesn’t have to be something you are born with, and in fact, many leaders are forged through both real life experiences where they can learn the value of team building in nursing and listening to other leaders in the nursing field. There are excellent programs that can help you learn how to become a better nurse, how to communicate with other nurses, and how to handle common team building problems. The various programs at Spring Arbor University are a great way to start working on building up your education as a nurse. The best part is the professors understand what being a nurse is like, and the program is designed to be completed without interrupting your busy life.

How does a great team empower nurses and help patients?

Having a nursing team that is a well-oiled machine and is able to make sure that patients are taken care of to the best of their ability is a fantastic goal that every nursing field should aim for. However, how does having a fantastic team empower nurses?

For starters it lets all those around you see you as a leader. You will be known by the results of your team and how they have helped out patients, and if you have a fantastic team that is saving lives and making a name for themselves, then that makes you look positive and also ensures that others look at you with authority. 

Being seen as a leader can also give you more responsibility in other fields as a nurse, because if you can lead a team extremely effectively, you might also be able to lead an entire doctor’s office! If you want to climb the ranks as a nurse, or you choose to specialize in another medical related field, then being a leader is going to be one of the most effective ways to do it.

A well led team helps the patients

Just like how a car that has every part working in tandem is going to be extremely fast and won’t break down as often, a nursing team that is working together and acting as a well oiled machine is going to be extremely effective at helping their patients.

Being able to have each member of the team carry a patient through the funnel and get them the help and support they need can be extremely effective. That will not only improve the lives of the patients, but it will also keep you from having to step into every step of the process and micromanage. Instead, you can sit back and focus on the tasks of the leadership position and other responsibilities that your job will demand of you.

If a large problem does show up, you and your team can work to overcome it quickly. There’s a real benefit to having a team that works together well and communicates effectively, because that is only going to make solving these problems that will face your patients much easier.

Empower your team and empower yourself

Finally, having an effective team that listens to you, does what you say, and gets some amazing results is extremely empowering. It can make you feel good to be a part of that team, and it can also make you feel proud to be a nurse in general. There’s a tremendous amount of personal growth that goes into being a leader, and if you can go through the leader’s journey and experience all of it, everyone winds up empowered.

So don’t be afraid to put in the work to become a leader, because the rewards are going to outweigh anything else you might find. And if you are a new nurse and are lucky enough to be put under a serious leader, then you need to make sure that you are following their instructions and taking some serious notes. It is only going to help you have a much better career in the long run.