Not Everyone is meant/wants to be a leader!

  1. This is not really a rant...just random musings. Why does every nursing organization want to push every floor nurse to be charge, a nurse leader or running the practice council? I know this isn't unique to nursing. You see articles all the time "Traits of Leaders" or "How to be a Leader." Job interviews constantly ask, "have you done charge?" "have you run any committees?" "do you want to be in leadership?" I have had managers ask this all the time.

    But what if I don't WANT to be a leader. Being a leader and being an influencer are two different things. I will also speak up for myself and my fellow nurses. I attend practice council, other meetings and am vocal. I believe in educating myself and keeping current. Why isn't that enough? Why can't I provide excellent care as a floor nurse and go home to my family? Why does everyone push for nursing (or the job) to be all-consuming? When I am on the floor, I give my 100%. But when I go home, I want to unplug.

    Does anyone else feel the same way? Just my thoughts lol...
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    About wannabenycnurse2011, BSN

    Joined: Jan '11; Posts: 104; Likes: 202

    33 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Unless you're a manager with 24/7 responsibility, you *should* be able to clock out and go home and not have to think about work, even as a charge nurse. I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with wanting that. Having 24 hour responsibility is certainly not for everyone, nor is being a leader. But if you excel at your job and are a good communicator, they WILL want you to lead your peers in some way, even if it's just as a charge nurse or preceptor. And those roles sometimes just go with the territory, and you don't have the luxury of saying no. There are plenty of people who may WANT to be in a leadership role, and far fewer who are GOOD at it. Ideally, there would be someone to choose from who has both qualities. But if there isn't I will pick the one who is good at it over the one who *wants* to do it.
  4. by   wannabenycnurse2011
    Hi Klone, I think you are misinterpreting my post. Or if it comes off as bashing, I promise it isn't. I am not saying there is anything wrong with someone who wants to be a leader. I am saying there is this push to MAKE everyone a leader or leading some committee. I woul certainly say I am a "leader" in my own way on my floor. I participate in practice council, bring up issues with my managers when we need them, etc. I would like to think people value my opinion and experience on the floor. In my world, that makes me a leader (of some sort).

    I just think there is this push, not just in nursing, to make EVERYONE a leader. I don't need a title or role. Perhaps, I am just averse to it LOL. I have been asked, well not charge nurse (I am far too anxious). But I have been asked to precept or be practice council chair, and I just don't want the extra responsbility. I am sure that sounds awful to some. Maybe my mind will change But thanks for the post
  5. by   klone
    Quote from wannabenycnurse2011
    I just think there is this push, not just in nursing, to make EVERYONE a leader.
    I guess I just don't agree that there is a push for every nurse to be a leader. It's certainly misguided, if that's the case.
  6. by   RNperdiem
    I am not interested in leadership either. You are not alone. One reason I like per diem work is that I can work without having to be in charge, precept new nurses, join any councils, or perform in a formal leadership way.
    Nursing is influenced by the outside business world. A macho sort of alpha-male leadership is worshiped there. You have read the articles and seen the book titles about crushing the competition, leading the way, and being and entrepenur.
  7. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from klone
    I guess I just don't agree that there is a push for every nurse to be a leader. It's certainly misguided, if that's the case.
    I think I understand what he means. When discussing the current push for BSN the rationale I see most often is that without your BSN you can't go into management so it could appear that the push is also for management. I notice the same kind of things he does at my institution. Committee participation, charge, if you are an ADN you need your BSN, if you are a BSN you need your MSN, clinical ladder and the list goes on. I think it's great to have all these opportunities but sometimes it does get a bit much.
  8. by   AdobeRN
    You are not alone - I have always felt that way. At this point in my life I want a job I am happy at, good at and enjoy - make my money and go home.
  9. by   Cowboyardee
    In general, charge nurse and precepting are not really leadership positions. They're jobs the unit needs their experienced staff to do, and often part of the hiring description for staff nurses. Job interviews often ask if you've been in these roles because they demonstrate a vote of confidence in your abilities from previous managers.

    I tend to agree with you, however, that the expectation of performing extracurricular duties for your unit (practice councils, shared governance, various committees) are onerous and unreasonable at times, depending on the culture of your unit. Short meetings at odd hours often don't justify the commute; they tend to elevate the opinions of the loudest voices rather than the best practice; and many of these committees never seem to accomplish much of value anyway.

    Your participation in them does, however, indicate to prospective employers that you are invested in your career, which I suppose is a desirable quality in a job candidate, so I don't really expect nursing leadership and HR to go de-emphasizing participation in them any time soon.

    Incidentally, you mention that it should be enough to be good at the job you hired to do. I think that may just be a big part of the problem - outside of your coworkers and MAYBE your immediate supervisor, no one really knows how good you are at that job. Nursing has no particularly accurate metrics to measure individual skill level and day-to-day work ethic (experience, education, and certifications really only tell you so much). Which is why managers and HR rely so heavily on the fairly arbitrary markers they do have to indicate competence and dedication - no one keeps track of or really knows how to measure your work performance otherwise anyway. This often depresses me a bit.
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Cowboyardee
    Incidentally, you mention that it should be enough to be good at the job you hired to do. I think that may just be a big part of the problem - outside of your coworkers and MAYBE your immediate supervisor, no one really knows how good you are at that job. Nursing has no particularly accurate metrics to measure individual skill level and day-to-day work ethic (experience, education, and certifications really only tell you so much). Which is why managers and HR rely so heavily on the fairly arbitrary markers they do have to indicate competence and dedication - no one keeps track of or really knows how to measure your work performance otherwise anyway. This often depresses me a bit.
    You hit the nail right on the head, Cowboyardee!
  11. by   llg
    Quote from Cowboyardee
    In general, charge nurse and precepting are not really leadership positions. They're jobs the unit needs their experienced staff to do, and often part of the hiring description for staff nurses. Job interviews often ask if you've been in these roles because they demonstrate a vote of confidence in your abilities from previous managers.
    .
    I totally agree with this. Things like charge, precepting, and a certain amount of committee participation is part of the staff-nurse level job. We need the average nurse to do these professional things -- organizing their work, mentoring the new people, giving input into improving the care they provide as a team, improving their own work environment, etc. A certain amount of that type of work is expected of the average professional -- and every RN should be prepared to do some of it. We need every RN to do their "fair share."

    But of course ... that doesn't mean everyone has to do a lot of it. Some people enjoy that stuff more than others & some people are better at it than others. And because of that fact, employers are interested in hiring the people who are good at it and willing to do it.
  12. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from wannabenycnurse2011
    Hi Klone, I think you are misinterpreting my post. Or if it comes off as bashing, I promise it isn't. I am not saying there is anything wrong with someone who wants to be a leader. I am saying there is this push to MAKE everyone a leader or leading some committee. I woul certainly say I am a "leader" in my own way on my floor. I participate in practice council, bring up issues with my managers when we need them, etc. I would like to think people value my opinion and experience on the floor. In my world, that makes me a leader (of some sort).

    I just think there is this push, not just in nursing, to make EVERYONE a leader. I don't need a title or role. Perhaps, I am just averse to it LOL. I have been asked, well not charge nurse (I am far too anxious). But I have been asked to precept or be practice council chair, and I just don't want the extra responsbility. I am sure that sounds awful to some. Maybe my mind will change But thanks for the post
    My daddy used to say: "You either lead, follow or get out of the way!" I am currently evaluating the pro's and con's of moving up to a supervisory position and am not sure I want it so I get where you are coming from but I am already a master preceptor, charge nurse and team leader. I feel the same way when it comes to the strong push for all nurses to keep pushing with their education to get a Doctor's of Nursing Practice. I am happy just keeping my side of the street swept.

    Hppy
  13. by   llg
    Quote from hppygr8ful
    My daddy used to say: "You either lead, follow or get out of the way!"
    Hppy
    I think the "lead, follow or get out of the way" quote might have real relevance here. Many nurses avoid leadership positions and activities, but will complain frequently about the way things are. If people don't want to lead, that's OK -- but if they are not willing to be part of the solution to existing problems, they need to either follow or get out of the way quietly. The fact that some people aren't willing to follow or get out of the way without complaining may be part of the reason nursing leaders urge their staff to participate more and/or move "up" a career ladder.

    The OP has raised an interesting question to think about.
  14. by   Orion81RN
    Quote from klone
    I guess I just don't agree that there is a push for every nurse to be a leader. It's certainly misguided, if that's the case.
    I see it in the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
    I don't think there is anything wrong with me saying that I just want to continue to learn new things and stay a floor nurse. Everywhere I have worked, they want to hear that you want to work your way up to a *titled* leadership role.

    No thanks. I'll lead by example when doing my own work and teach others who come to me asking how to do something. That's all I want at this point in my life, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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