10 Ways to Develop Nursing Leadership

Just read a great article in American Nurse Today about Launching yourself in nursing leadership. This lead me to thinking about Ways to Develop Nursing Leadership Skills Specialties Management Article

10 Ways to Develop Nursing Leadership

Participate in Workplace Committees

Participating workplace committees allows you to learn how and why decisions are made within your institution and healthcare politics involved in decision making. Observe how committee lead and members identify issues, problem solve, and resolve (or place on back burner) issues.

After being on the committee awhile, you will soon realize who follows through on assignments, who's ideas usually work and who's opinions are respected. Consider asking one of the leaders to mentor you.

Attend Nursing Conferences

Learning new skills or reinforcing ones you have instills confidence. This allows YOU to take charge of your practice in areas of interest and often rekindles that initial passion you had for the career.

It also allows one to network, share ideas and often discover you are not alone in having issues with particular device, newest healthcare craze or that you really have it better that some other work settings. BEST destressor too!

Join a Professional Association, Meetings and Conventions

Nursing Associations & Organizations (National & International)

Participate in committee work. Become a presenter at event. Serve as delegate at national conventions--- exposes you to the best minds in the nursing world.

Subscribe to a Nursing Journal

Read each issue to keep abreast of evidenced based practices and emerging trends. Discuss info with colleagues at work.

Meet Periodically with Nurse Educators

Request training in areas of weakness or desire to learn more in-depth knowledge.

Float to Other Units

Floating to other units helps you to learn how others perform work -- can be better (or worse) than home unit. Helps to learn what NOT to do and learn to spread your wings.

Read Books on Leadership

Read books beyond healthcare leadership. Look online for book reviews re leadership. Many hospitals have medical libraries which loan out books.

Time and Experience

Learning occurs over time and living through the shared healthcare experiences your patients have: unheard of diseases, code or rapid response situations, death and dying, difficult patients, "your the best nurse" moments, wrangling with physicians and other staff learning to be assertive for patients needs.

Additional Education

Consider improving your education to move to the next level in nursing.

Keep Posting Away at AN

As I reflect back on my career, these are tips that I unconsciously utilized to prepare me to become a charge nurse and later Department Manager.

Start out small and add these into your career mix over the coming months and years and you will soon evolve into the unit leader.

Home Health Columnist / Guide

40 year(s) of experience in Home Care, Vents, Telemetry, Home infusion. Homecare Guru & Nursing Advocate. Loving Hubby + 2 adult sons. Needlepoint addict --watch out for needle sticks.

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Thank you Karen for sharing this article. I would like to add to your nursing leadership is the valuie of if you've trained new employees in some sort. It may help your resume *shine*. I've been a CNA for five years and want to advance to LVN. I know how *standing out* is very valuable with leadership on your resume and I recently volunteer to assist the DON with independent mental health research and trends to improve performance. I also recently asked my DON if I can *shadow* and intern under her supervision as an assistant and she's open to the idea. :)

Thank you for the great article. It is so important to map a plan for career development and your ideas are right on target! A well respected expert nurse I worked with told me she took advantage of every single educational/training opportunity offered by our employer. This nurse attended every conference, meeting, webinar etc. she could find. I remember her saying she couldn't understand why other nurses didn't use all these learning opportunities. Needless to say her expertise grew along with her career and she moved onto bigger and better things.

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Glad you found the article helpful. Spread the word amongst your colleagues and friends.


NurseKaren!!! You always write great articles. I truly believe that you are my AN mentor and we have more things in common. I am currently apart of the patient safety committee and want to join the code blue or budget committee to continue to educate and grow in the nursing community

Specializes in Critical Care.

Thank you for this NRSKaren. I'm in my MSN leadership year 2 of 3. That was a great bulleted point by point what a nurse can do to try to get into a future leadership role. Thanks!!!!