6 Skills Needed to Become a Successful Nurse Leader

Last Updated on February 8, 2024

Blonde nurse leader standing in front of other healthcare workers

Nurses have a powerful impact on the healthcare industry and the profession. Through confidence, hard work, compassion, industry knowledge, and strong leadership (and many other qualities), it takes a special kind of person to become a nurse. With the right leadership qualities and skills, you can take your career to the next level by becoming a nurse leader.

Every department needs a nurse leader to take charge and set an example. A successful nurse leader shows integrity and kindness. This type of leader is committed to making the entire department better. Through hard work and dedication, some nurses will consciously work to form themselves into a role in nursing leadership while others find themselves as a leader through an unplanned career change.

The Importance of Nurse Leaders

The American Nurses Association (ANA) describes a nurse leader as a nurse who has a passion for excelling in their career “within a healthcare organization, who represents the interests of the nursing profession, a seasoned nurse or healthcare administrator interested in refining skills to differentiate them from the competition or to advance to the next level of leadership.”

Those in nurse leadership roles are advocates for patients, nursing managers, and registered nurses, as well as the profession. Nurse leaders are often described as encouraging, innovative, adaptive, and supportive – being able to adapt to the ever-changing industry and successfully lead and direct teams with a focus on quality patient care. This type of leadership has had a direct correlation to improved patient outcomes and workplace communities. Nurse leaders are able to perform well under pressure and are able to incorporate teachings of long-term success into their day-to-day initiatives.

6 Skills to Become a Nurse Leader

Effective leadership and management for nurses are important for nurses looking to advance in their careers as a nurse leader. While there are many qualities nurses naturally already have to be a leader, the determination and ability to focus and develop a key set of skills that are important for a leadership role will prove successful. Here are six skills to becoming a successful nurse leader.

1. Always be a team player. The top leaders in the field of nursing have no trouble helping out! Show that you are willing to help everyone and don’t pick favorites.

2. Lead by example. Demonstrate what type of nurse your department needs. Staff will respond better when they see their leader putting in work and being supportive.

3. Stay up to date on education. As a nurse leader, your team will look to you for answers and guidance. A successful nurse leader is a resource to the rest of the nursing staff and will also encourage others to stay up to date on their education.

4. Be flexible. As all nurses know, the healthcare system is always changing. Nurse leaders are compassionate with staff and patients while changes occur and are willing to solve any problem that arises.

5. Stay professional and dedicated. Always show respect. A successful nurse leader will remain professional in any situation. You are the role model! Showing your dedication and professionalism will set the tone for all nurses and the department.

6. Great communication. Having the ability to communicate with your staff is key. Utilizing excellent communication skills will better the department and staff. As the nurse leader, it’s important that all members of the team are on the same level of understanding.

Learning new skills to better your career can be challenging at times, but taking the time to do so shows you are an asset to your facility. This type of initiative is what makes nurse leaders stand out. A successful nurse leader wants every member of the team to succeed and provide the best care possible.

At the end of the day, a successful nurse leader’s focus is on bettering the staff around them and enhancing patient care. Providing the absolute best patient care while maintaining leadership skills is key.

Find Your Next Nurse Leadership Opportunity with CareerStaff

Here at CareerStaff, we encourage the advancement of skills and value nursing leadership. We have many nursing leadership opportunities available and would love to help you grow your career! Check out our available nursing leadership opportunities here.