Leadership in nursing: developing qualities that are essential in a good leader

September 3, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Leadership in nursing is hitting the headlines these days. When hiring nurses more and more hospitals and other private employers are looking for strong leadership qualities in addition to the traditional nursing qualities of compassion, caring and medical expertise. This is particularly so in senior nurse positions. Senior nurses are not only expected to be good at their jobs but they are also expected to transform into good leaders.


Students learning clinical procedures from their hospital mentorsTake a look at some of the most important skills that are necessary for successful leadership and what you can do to acquire and develop these skills. It is only in recognising the importance of these skills and taking the time and trouble to develop them that you can become effective in nursing leadership.





 It is important to stop relying on others to do things. Seeing that you are capable of handling situations on your own, no matter how challenging, will earn you the respect of your colleagues and being respected is extremely important if you want to be a leader. However, in the interest of better patient care it is important to temper your independence with knowing when to ask for help and when to listen to the advice of others. It can be a little tricky to find that healthy balance between being fiercely independent and being totally dependent, but you need to determine where you fall along the line and then work on getting to the middle. Humility and the ability to admit that you need help are tremendous qualities in a leader.


 Leaders are needed the most when the rest of the team has given up hope and they need someone to push them to the finish line. Even in cases where you may not feel extremely optimistic, it helps to still try to make your team believe that there is hope so that nobody gives up until all hope is lost. Optimism is not just about being unfailingly positive. It is just as important to understand and accept failure but only after having done your utmost.


 First of all, you need to realise that there is a major difference between being aggressive and being assertive. A person is aggressive when they force their view upon others and refuse to listen to anyone else. Aggressiveness usually makes the person arrogant and unpopular. It causes an unhealthy environment and affects the entire team. Assertiveness, on the other hand, is necessary for people to respect you. This includes being firm when necessary and sticking to your decisions even when you’re faced with trouble. However, remember to be open to ideas and listen to everyone’s point of view.

Self-actualisation and self-acceptance

 Are you capable of recognising which areas you do well in and which areas you need to improve upon without feeling embarrassed or wanting to cover your weakness? Self-acceptance can be a tough balancing act. However, feeling shameful of your weaknesses sets in motion negative behaviours than can paralyse you and sabotage your career.