It takes remarkable resolve to become a nurse and extraordinary determination to become a nurse leader. Taking the next step and transforming into a superior nurse leader requires an impressive level of commitment.
Great nurse leaders are experts in multiple areas: people management, administration and, of course, patient care. What makes a truly exceptional nurse leader? Here are five qualities all outstanding nurse leaders have.
1. They know how to create procedural standards and ensure proper execution.
When a nurse assumes the role of nurse leader, there are usually standard processes already in place. However, the healthcare field is always evolving, which means there may not be existing guidelines when new situations arise—for example, updates to HIPAA regulations or the passing of new legislation.
First-rate nurse leaders effectively develop and establish the necessary processes to adapt to these changes. They also make sure their staff members know the correct way to carry out the new or revised procedures.
2. They recognize the importance of helping staff members be confident in their care decisions.
A confident nursing team is an efficient nursing team, and an efficient nursing team can more easily focus on providing high-quality, patient-centered care.
Sometimes novice nurses will struggle with certain clinical procedures. While in some instances it might seem easier to simply perform the procedure yourself, exceptional nurse leaders know encouraging the staff nurse to improve his or her skills can help him or her feel more confident, reduce the number of times intervention is required and, in turn, increase hospital efficiency.
3. They’re always on the lookout for personal and professional development.
While it’s critical to ensure your staff is working to better themselves and further their careers, superior nurse leaders recognize they also must be actively searching for ways to broaden their own skill set.
Whether that means completing more than the minimum CME hours, attending unrequired conferences or making sure they have a good work-life balance, top nurse leaders are always trying to become the best nurse (and person) they can be.
4. They have a thoughtful hiring strategy to determine which candidates would be the best fit in their hospital’s culture.
Since every hospital staff member must possess some basic abilities, evaluating a candidate’s clinical proficiency during the interview process is a given. But just because a prospective employee has the requisite skills, it doesn’t guarantee he or she will be a good fit in a particular hospital environment.
High-caliber nurse leaders know to consider other factors, including an interviewee’s attitude, approach to patient care and general temperament. A bad hire can hurt the dynamic of your team and retention, so successful nurse leaders take advantage of all the available information to avoid choosing the wrong candidate.
5. They are sensitive to cues that a staff member is unhappy and know how to remedy the issue.
Nurse leaders must be in tune with their team. They need to know who is excelling and who is struggling. When a staff member falls into the latter category, good nurse leaders take notice and look into the cause.
It could be something in the staff member’s personal life—maybe they had a fight with their spouse and just needs someone to whom they can vent. Perhaps the team member is displeased with their work schedule and would like it to be revised. Whatever the case, supportive nurse leaders reach out to their staff, offer guidance and resolve the problem to the best of their ability.
Being an extraordinary nurse leader is no easy task. It’s usually physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Strong nurse leaders who use their education and experience to create a positive and efficient hospital environment can see the results of their hard work in higher patient satisfaction and decreased staff turnover.
Interested in doing even more to improve the patient experience? Get your copy of our free download, The Ultimate Patient Satisfaction Checklist for Nurse Managers, to ensure your team is providing the best quality care.