Nurses are the first point of contact for patients, which is why it is very important for them to have leadership and interpersonal skills. Important leadership skills such as communication and teamwork play an important role in helping nurses to succeed in their roles. They also affect change while inspiring others to work towards accomplishing both individual and organizational goals.
Regardless of what the job title of a nurse might be, learning and implementing leadership skills is important for having a successful nursing career abroad. This could include persuading the patients to take the right steps in their treatment for better and stronger health, playing the role of a mentor to less experienced nurses, or working as a nurse manager sometimes.
Building leadership skills makes nurses much better professionals, which further helps in advancing their career, and transitioning into relevant managerial roles.
In this blog, we will be discussing some ways to build leadership skills on the job. In case you are a nurse who aspires to have an accomplished career then this blog is just for you. To start with, let us first understand nurse leadership skills and the importance of nursing leadership.
What are Nursing Leadership Skills?
Nursing leadership skills are some character traits that enable a nurse to succeed in being a proficient caretaker. The students are taught leadership skills while they complete their nursing study in Canada because strong leadership skills are important to offer excellent care to the patients.
Moreover, leadership skills in nursing are considered important for furthering the industry and creating innovative treatment plans for meeting the needs of patients. Nursing leadership skills include a mix of hard skills and soft skills. The soft skills enable nursing students to learn important things such as teamwork and collaboration for overall success while the hard skills enable nursing students to handle administrative tasks more effectively while setting a good example for other professionals.
Nursing colleges in Canada emphasize on the importance of learning leadership skills because as the healthcare industry grows and more nurses become innovative leaders, more patients require medical care. Irrespective of where the nurse might be in his/her career, leadership skills are always useful. They help in:
- Inspiring the team to work more efficiently, productively, and easily
- Motivating other nurses and healthcare professionals to offer better patient care
- Make very few medical errors
- Work for bringing a positive and progressive change in the nursing profession
- Motivate new graduates for a sound and satisfactory professional life
Building Your Leadership Skills on the Job:
- Awareness of Strengths and Weaknesses: One of the most important characteristics of a great leader is having a sense of self-awareness. The best leaders are increasingly aware of themselves, the qualities that make them strong, and the traits that limit their potential and make them weak. Being aware of yourself helps in working on your strengths and also realizing the most effective leadership style.
After the completion of postgraduate nursing courses, nurses are presented with completely mature, sensitive, and real healthcare settings, demanding them to be at their best. To make sure that nurses put in their best, they must get into the habit of working on all the qualities that make them put their best foot forward while addressing the ones that limit their potential.
This awareness will allow them to understand their personal leadership style and it will also give an indication of where one needs to work for developing their abilities. Active and honest self-reflection is probably one of the most effective and beneficial learning tools for skill development. Something as simple as starting a journal that helps to reflect on everyday incidents can help in understanding situations that can be managed well by acting differently. This will help in thinking and implementing what kind of behaviour can be more effective.
- Inculcating Discipline: Any good leader becomes so because of leading a disciplined life. This is something that is non-negotiable. When you develop discipline in your professional and personal life, a systematic way of doing things begins to develop and you inspire others to stay disciplined.
Your capacity to work effectively is also directly linked to how disciplined you are. Even though this trait is taught while students complete their nursing study in Canada, some students struggle with developing this skill.
Some skills such as practicing a detailed plan, making and following a budget, instilling time management skills, developing effective communication skills, and organizing and managing your emails will have a positive impact on your professional life.
- Communicating Effectively: Leadership is directly proportional to communicating effectively. You have to be an outstanding communicator if you want to succeed as a good nursing leader abroad. Leaders have to be clearly articulated in expressing their expectations and seeking clarification.
The lives of many patients depend on the ability of nurses to communicate effectively. Moreover, the goals of motivating, influencing, guiding, and persuading others cannot be achieved in case nurses do not communicate well and focus on creating dependable connections.
- Expanding Your Knowledge: The best path to becoming a good leader is to ensure that you keep learning new things. This helps in keeping your mind sharp and your skills updated. In addition, it also prepares you for the new challenges that might come your way which a leader must be ready for.
Knowledge can be used to come up with new ideas and solutions that are the key to the vision, innovation, and critical thinking of some great leaders. An attitude to expand your knowledge helps in seeing opportunities and problems when they arise, while planning strategic action to overcome any challenges.
As a nurse leader, you should keep yourself updated with the changes in your field and also grow your knowledge on a wide range of topics associated with the world around you. You can offer assistance for tasks and projects that help in expanding your skills. You can also use opportunities to attend educational workshops, conferences, online sessions, etc.
Having regular discussions and asking questions from anyone and everyone for getting more information helps in learning different perspectives. Make it a point to read continuously and widely. You should have an attitude of never stopping when it comes to learning and growing. As a nurse, you should be seeking to show how much you can learn and apply rather than how much you already know. You will be able to succeed in any position in case you learn and adapt quickly.
- Being Proactive: In case you have a problem that you think you can solve then do the same without waiting for someone to ask you to do the same. Healthcare managers have a lot of work that they need to solve, so anyone who takes the first step to solve a problem will stand out as a leader.
In case a patient is complaining of an uncomfortable bed that is adding to his pain then you can request a new bed from maintenance. In other cases, if a patient is at an increased falling risk, you can take other steps to prevent the fall by providing frequent support when the patient stands or walks and by ensuring that the space is free from all kinds of clutter.
Strong leaders become so because they take action. Nurses are anyway used to being on the frontline during crisis. Therefore, you can actually make a big difference in a problem by being the first one to step up and offer assistance.
This dedication will show that you genuinely value your patients and are willing to go above and beyond for your patients. This is actually the mark of a true leader and it will also help in making a successful nursing career abroad.
Building good leadership skills is important for advancing your nursing career. That said, leadership is much more than just being in charge. It is about learning to inspire others to dream more, being interested in learning more, wanting to become more, and doing more.