group of doctors walking on hospital hallway

Often, nurses are the first interaction patients have in the health care setting, making it important for them to have strong interpersonal skills, and for them to be able to make people feel comfortable and at ease. But to ensure that the delivery of healthcare services in all medical institutions is consistently at the highest quality possible and processes run smoothly and efficiently, there needs to be strong nursing leadership, whether that be a single person or an entire team. Any nurse can work towards a leadership role, and here are some tips to help get you there.

Emotional Intelligence

All nurses have to have an element of emotional intelligence to be able to effectively handle patients, their families, and colleagues. Emotional intelligence in leadership is made up of a number of soft skills combined, including empathy, social skills, self-awareness, motivation, and self-regulation, to give you the ability to manage and regulate your emotions and those that you are leading in the workplace. Effective emotional intelligence for a leader means you are able to foster a working environment that doesn’t harbor negativity and becomes toxic at any point. You are able to create balance, make calm decisions, and positively influence motivation.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are important in almost every aspect of life, especially when working closely with other people in a fast-paced and intense environment. In nursing, communication between nurses is essential to ensure that patients are receiving the highest standard of patient-centered care possible. An effective leader will develop processes, strategies, and routines that their team uses every single day which create channels of communication. Additionally, they are required to communicate across an inter-disciplinary team, which sometimes has conflicting viewpoints. Communication isn’t only about staff members, but patients and their families too. Being able to effectively communicate updates and information about a patient’s condition in a thoughtful and compassionate, yet professional manner is a key skill of any nurse, not just nurse leaders, but in a leadership role, this must be perfected and taught to the rest of the team.

Further Education

Going back to school and studying for a leadership role could help land you the job in the first place. By taking on further education, you are showing that you are not only committed to investing in yourself and your own knowledge but that you want to succeed and achieve for your workplace. Studying nursing leadership courses online with Baylor University gives you the knowledge, competencies, and strategies to transform nursing. Having an entirely online course means you can continue to uphold your work commitments while furthering your education and developing effective nursing leadership skills through both study and practice. You’ll know how to develop the most effective systems and gain the highest competence in leadership skills so you can guide your team to perform at the highest standard possible.

Constructive Feedback

Getting feedback is arguably one of the most useful tools when improving practice. As a nursing leader, you can set up systems that ensure nurses are receiving real-time feedback and consistently experiencing hands-on learning while on the job. However, feedback has to be done in a way that is encouraging and motivating but can be learned from. You don’t want people to feel like they are being picked on or not doing a good job, as this can affect their work ethic and act as a distraction rather than an opportunity for growth and learning. Real-time feedback is useful for newer nurses, and you should ensure that the more experienced nurses know how to approach it in a sensitive and encouraging manner. Performance reviews and formal feedback is equally effective for all nurses, no matter their level of experience. Finding the time and scheduling in meetings with nurses and supervisors to provide feedback can really boost the performance of your team but be constructive about how you use your language; don’t just focus on the negatives and areas for improvement.

Guidance and Mentorship

Nursing is a varied and unpredictable career. Even the most experienced nurses find themselves in situations that they have never come across before but have to handle them professionally and effectively. Having a mentorship or guidance program for newer nurses to be partnered up with those that have been in the profession for much longer is a really effective leadership tool to promote cooperation between colleagues and guide new nurses through their experiences. Nurses that have been working for a long time have such extensive invaluable experience that newer nurses can really learn from. They are not just watching and learning the health care systems and processes, but also observing and taking on the behaviors of these trusted nurses. Developing these kinds of programs can help your team to feel as though they are capable of taking on anything that gets thrown their way and is an effective leadership tool to use in the health care setting.

Consistent Growth

There are new developments and innovations happening constantly in the health care industry, whether it be regarding disease and illness, process and systems, or technological advancements. Those in nursing leadership roles have to make sure their team is keeping up with this growth and consistently learning so they can provide up-to-date, relevant, and effective patient care. Give your team the opportunities to attend events, training, and meetings that will further their knowledge and develop their practice. These could be organized on-site, or they may be external, but it also shows that you, as a leader, are committed and invested in them, their careers, and their growth. It makes your team feel appreciated and consequently, their performance at work will be of high quality and they will be fully motivated to do the very best they can.

A nursing leadership team has such a huge effect on the running of the health care system. Effective leaders ensure their teams are working at a standard of excellence through strong communication and work ethic, and that they are consistently learning and developing their knowledge. If you are striving towards a higher role within nursing leadership, these tips will help you get there.