What It Takes to Be a Nurse Leader

Leadership is an essential quality in any profession for those individuals who wish to motivate their teams, help others with their careers, and lead by example. Being a strong leader is especially important in the nursing profession, where you need the skills and confidence to communicate with patients and their families about their care. 

It also helps to be a strong leader if you plan on moving up in your career, in the field or the boardroom. Leadership is not about bossing people around. In fact, a strong leader is rarely aggressive or bossy because they communicate their needs effectively, with respect. Many skills are essential when you are a leader, but some are crucial in creating a positive working environment that runs effectively.


Taking junior nurses under your wing and teaching them how to enhance their skills is one of the best ways to lead an effective and successful team. Any good leader knows that building up their staff and helping them achieve their goals is the way to become successful. When you mentor those in your charge, you are effectively developing the next generation of nurses, so you have succession planning in place when you get promoted and move on. 

Excellent communication

Communication does not mean barking orders or lecturing. It is a two-way street where there is listening as well as speaking with mutual respect and a clear understanding. Good communicators know how important it is to verify that their message has been received clearly. 

Effective communication also extends to the patients and their families, who may not be familiar with medical terminology and could feel very anxious and overwhelmed. It also extends to after-care and letting family members know about outside resources available to them. 

Advocate for educational and professional development

Nurse leaders know that their education does not stop when they get promoted, but rather, it is a lifelong journey where they can impart their knowledge to the next generation of nurse leaders coming up through the ranks. Nurse leaders who decide to improve their education through online programs like the UIndy post-master’s DNP program become much more eligible for promotions and increased responsibility. An online post-master’s DNP, such as the course offered at the University of Indianapolis, is a great option to expand your clinical experience and advance your patient care. These individuals are valued and respected for their commitment to their educational and professional development and ability to lead by example. 

Strong decision-making skills

There is a constant flow of decisions that need to be made every day when you are a nurse. For leaders in nursing, teaching your staff how to make confident, firm decisions can be a time saver and could also save someone’s life. Nurse leaders are responsible for making administrative decisions, like scheduling, to practical decisions, like medication administration. It is imperative that they are knowledgeable and adept at making the right decisions quickly. 

If you are passionate about mentoring future nurses and leading by example with respect and great communication, then you may want to look into ways to further your knowledge and career in nurse leadership.

Medical Disclaimer: All the content available on the website is just for informational purposes. It’s not a substitute for any Professional advice. Don’t take it personally. As a medical student, I’m just trying to use my information through my content, and please keep in mind it’s not written by a professional doctor. Use the data just for educational purposes.

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