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DiversityNursing Blog

Exploring the Qualities of a Successful Nurse Leader

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jul 06, 2023 @ 12:35 PM

To truly excel in a Nurse leadership role, it takes a unique blend of qualities and attributes that empower Nurses to guide their teams and achieve positive patient outcomes.

Here are some key traits and characteristics commonly associated with successful leadership:

Strong Communication Skills: Effective Nurse leaders possess excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. They can clearly articulate their expectations, actively listen to others, and provide constructive feedback. Clear communication helps foster collaboration, resolve conflicts, and ensure the delivery of quality care.

Susan Adams, an Associate Professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis said, “Communication is not you telling people your thoughts or ideas. The most powerful part of communication is being a good, active listener. You must listen to understand the perspective and be able to verbally reflect that back. Once a person is heard, you’ve established a foundation to move forward.”

Integrity and Ethics: Nurse leaders must demonstrate high levels of integrity and ethical conduct. They serve as role models for their teams and maintain professional standards in their practice. Acting with honesty, trustworthiness, and ethical decision-making builds a culture of trust and respect.

Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence involves being aware of and managing one's emotions while understanding and empathizing with others. Nurse leaders with high emotional intelligence can effectively navigate complex situations, display empathy towards patients and staff, and build strong interpersonal relationships.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Successful leaders possess strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They can analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and develop innovative solutions. This trait allows them to navigate challenges effectively and guide their teams towards optimal patient outcomes.

Adaptability and Flexibility: In the dynamic healthcare environment, Nurse leaders need to be adaptable and flexible. They must be open to change, able to adjust their strategies as needed, and embrace new technologies and practices. Adaptability enables them to respond to emerging healthcare trends and effectively lead their teams through transitions.

Visionary Leadership: Nurse leaders with a clear vision inspire and motivate their teams. They possess the ability to envision the future of healthcare, set goals, and communicate a compelling vision to their staff. By sharing their vision and aligning the team's efforts, leaders can foster innovation and achieve organizational success.

Collaboration and Team Building: Successful Nurse leaders prioritize collaboration and team building. They value the input and expertise of their team members and create an environment that encourages open communication, teamwork, and collaboration. Leaders who foster a sense of belonging and trust among their staff create a supportive and productive work culture.

Continuous Learning: Leaders who prioritize continuous learning contribute to their own professional growth and the development of their teams. They stay updated with current research, evidence-based practices, and industry advancements. By embracing lifelong learning, they can provide evidence-based care and guide their teams towards excellence.

Resilience: Often, Nurse leaders encounter various challenges and obstacles. Resilience allows them to bounce back from setbacks, overcome adversity, and maintain a positive outlook. They inspire resilience in their teams, ensuring the provision of quality care even in challenging circumstances.

According to the University of Cincinnati, research shows effective Nurse leaders as teachers, mentors, and coaches, that foster resilience in their team members in 7 distinct ways. Those include:

  • Facilitating social connections
  • Promoting positivity
  • Capitalizing on strengths
  • Nurturing growth
  • Encouraging self-care
  • Fostering mindfulness practices
  • Conveying altruism


Empowerment and Mentorship: Leaders empower their team members and promote their professional growth. They provide guidance, mentorship, and opportunities for career advancement. By investing in their staff's development, they create a culture of empowerment and foster a sense of job satisfaction.

While these traits and characteristics are important for successful Nurse leadership, it's important to note that leadership skills can be developed and enhanced over time with experience, education, and self-reflection.

Topics: nurse leaders, nurse leadership, nurse leader, nurse leader qualities

Qualities Of A Successful Nurse Leader

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Aug 02, 2021 @ 10:18 AM

GettyImages-1273293709Health care organizations rely on Nurse leaders to manage teams, patient care, and promote organizational goals. In order to meet these goals, a successful Nurse leader must possess certain qualities such as...

Good communication. In healthcare, effective communication can literally be the difference between life and death. 

Nurse leaders should make themselves accessible and establish an environment that promotes an open-door policy so Nurses feel comfortable discussing issues or concerns. Team meetings is another great way to keep regular communication throughout shifts. 

Accountability. Nurse leaders are responsible for creating and maintaining a culture of accountability.

According to Duquesne University, some of the steps to creating a culture of accountability include:

  • Building trust: The foundation for successful workplace accountability is trust. Employees who trust each other are more willing to accept and act on constructive criticism rather than assuming it is ill-willed.
  • Developing strong communication skills: Individuals who use an assertive communication style can express information in an honest, open, and direct manner. The assertive communication style is not aggressive in tone, but instead is respectful and avoids blame and criticism.
  • Developing clear expectations: The American Nurses Association (ANA) outlines the expectations and responsibilities for all Nurses including the overall responsibility for their patients and practice. Nurse leaders should continually remind Nurses of the expectations of practice.
  • Modeling accountability: A workplace that has leaders who accept responsibility and hold themselves and others accountable creates a culture of accountability. Nurses who are leading teams of Nurses must be open to feedback and criticism. 

Emotionally Supportive. Without empathy, you can't build a team or nurture a future generation of leaders. 

Empathy in healthcare means more than just being a sounding board. It requires conscious effort to take a step back and respect a coworker's feelings, needs, and concerns. This process requires a skill set that can be developed with time, practice, and instruction. When healthcare workers can discuss and cope with their emotions, they can better care for their patients and avoid or manage stress that leads to burnout.

Goal Getter. A great Nurse leader is always striving for excellence, and that requires evaluating how the organization is doing, identifying priorities for improvement, setting measurable goals, leading teams to achieve them, and then celebrating those achievements.

Adaptable. The role of a Nurse will always be evolving and changing. Nurse leaders must possess the ability to be flexible and adapt to new environments, technologies, policies, and as we've seen over the last year with COVID-19, global health issues.

These qualities are important throughout the entire Nursing industry, regardless of where you are in your career. Even if you aren't a manager, you can use these leadership skills to motivate your team to be more efficient and productive.

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Topics: nurses, health care, hospitals, nurse leaders, nurse leadership, nurse leader, nurse leader qualities

How To Be a Great Nurse Leader During COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Nov 03, 2020 @ 03:09 PM

nurseleadercovidThe Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role was created by the American Association of Colleges in Nursing (AACN) in 2003.

According to a journal from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, The CNL understands microsystem issues and their relationship to larger organizational issues. This perspective provides a two-way flow of information to and from health system leaders as they direct an institutional response to the pandemic around issues such as assessing patterns of spread, patient acuity, appropriate staffing levels, and personal protective equipment utilization.

A successful CNL must be confident in their communication abilities. They're expected to provide the coaching and direction staff needs to adapt to frequent changes. Whether it be transforming hospital departments into COVID-19 units or creating sanitation and PPE protocols for staff.

Communication is also key in keeping staff informed and calm throughout the pandemic by addressing any questions or concerns they have. Nurses want to feel that management has their backs, and CNLs are the ones they will look to in times of need.

Leaders should be responsible for supporting the well-being and mental health of the healthcare team. CNLs should advocate for adequate programs and resources for Nurses to cope and deal with stress.

Not only should Nurse leaders advocate for their fellow Nurses, they should also be the voice for their patients.  According to NursingCenter, the CNL acts as a patient advocate by incorporating patients' unique values, desires, needs, and perspectives into patient care delivery.

Another way Nurse leaders advocate for patients during COVID-19 is providing a way for patients to communicate with their families. Because of the pandemic, visitation is prohibited. Leaders work with management to provide devices for patients to see and talk with loved ones.

Lastly, a successful Nurse leader must be resilient. Personal resilience is key and leaders can find it by…

  • Letting go of what they can't control
  • Leading with their head as well as their heart
  • Showing strength through vulnerability

The CNL is a valuable member of the Nursing profession and team. They do their best to maintain safety while providing the best patient care possible during this extremely stressful pandemic.

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Topics: CNL, nurse leaders, clinical nurse leader, nurse leader

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