A career in nursing is one of the most gratifying life experiences because it offers one the chance to help other people in their time of need. Many nurses enjoy an outstanding balance of independence and closeness to patients. However, those looking for career advancement in this field may find themselves struggling to develop leadership skills, especially at the senior level. 

Here are the eight essential tips on how to build nurse leadership skills:

Continue Learning & Skills Building

The medical field is a dynamic industry, so you’ll have to keep up with the constant changes to remain an invaluable part of this exciting profession. Nurses must always be well-informed on the new developments in the medical field. Thus, they must continue subscribing to nursing publications and attending conferences. Those who are eyeing leadership positions should even take things further by taking on graduate studies, such as a Masters degree in Nursing Admin, to prepare them for more senior and managerial levels.

Reinforcing Strengths While Working On Weaknesses

Self-awareness is one of the most vital characteristics of excellent leaders. They know in which areas they are strong and find ways to reinforce them through training and continuous learning. At the same time, they also try to improve themselves by working on their weaknesses. Suppose self-doubt is one of your common character flaws. If so, then building confidence is one of the ways you can bring out the leader in yourself. You can do this through active self-reflection and a desire to be the best in your field.

Build Effective Communication Skills

Your success as a leader in the nursing profession depends on your skills as a communicator. You need to know how to communicate to motivate, guide, influence, and persuade others. A good communicator creates real personal connections, and they listen well to understand what people want and need. That said, communication is one of the key leadership skills to develop.  

Also, remember that communication is not a one-way street. If you’re trying to lead a team, you must listen well and even pick up on the non-verbal cues of your team members.

Uphold Professional Values And Morals

As a nurse, you’re expected to work with sick and suffering people in their most vulnerable state. So aside from showing to work with a smile, you can be more effective in your job and develop your leadership potential by following the same rules as any profession. That means you must continue to stick to professional values and morals in every situation. If you want to take on a nurse leadership position in the future, you should show that you’re committed to your work now and are trustworthy when dealing with your patients and your colleagues.

Set Goals And Try To Reach Them

Developing work skills is an integral part of career development in nursing. Create a list of the skills you’d like to grow, and then consider setting measurable goals for each skill. Be specific and straightforward with the steps you need to take. Determine how you’ll measure your success–research system to help you develop precise, relevant, achievable, and quantifiable objectives.

Always Prioritize The Patients

The job of a nurse is not just to do your tasks well. It’s also crucial for nurses to remember that their patients are their clients. If you want to become a nurse leader, keeping your patients in mind should be your priority. You can achieve this by showing up at work with a positive attitude and enthusiasm in dealing with patients and coworkers. Aside from knowledge and experience, another characteristic that hospital executives are always on the lookout for is a nurse’s ability to inspire colleagues to work harder and bring a positive attitude in the workplace.

Seek Out Other Duties 

The hospital setting is usually stressful and busy. Thus, you can show some initiative by seeking extra duties or responsibilities if your workload is light. Doing this will help improve your skills in areas not part of your regular duties. However, don’t overdo it by asking for more than you can handle. Only volunteer to assist if you have time and are already finished with your official duties.

Join Community And Professional Organizations

Another effective way to build your leadership skills is by joining local and state nurse associations or community organizations. Professional groups will help keep you abreast of new trends in the medical field. Meanwhile, doing volunteer work in community groups, even your church org, will help you improve your people and communication skills.

The Bottom Line

If you’re setting your sights on a nurse leadership role in the future, it’s crucial to learn to take responsibility for your growth and development. But when all is said and done, before you can be an excellent leader, you should start by being an exemplary nurse in your current position.