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Advice for Aspiring Nurse Leaders

06/25/2015 | 2 Comments

Advice for Aspiring Nurse Leaders

I completed reading an article (Larkin, 2015) describing the most critical skills required for hospital CEOs in the next three years. I believe the same are required for nurse leaders. To be
effective nurse leaders require “learning agility” and “emotional intelligence.”

“Learning agility” is simply a leader’s ability to quickly identify a problem and use his or her own learning process to gain deep understanding before making a decision. Every day, nurse leaders are faced with new challenges. The practice of nursing is far more complex than the technical skills that are required to meet the needs of any person we serve. It requires learning agility. The new health care environment requires constant adaptation, changes in processes, etc. Without learning agility, the nurse leader may find him/herself at a disadvantage.

“Emotional intelligence” is the ability to recognize your emotions, as well as those of other people. It refers to the ability to discriminate between different emotions and identify them appropriately. Lastly, it refers to the ability to use the emotional information in order to guide one’s thinking and behavior. As nurse leaders, we are constantly faced with complex
situations that involve people’s emotions.

Larkin offers seven advices for aspiring CEOs. I contend that many are most critical for nurse leaders, as well:

    1. Get a Graduate Degree

    2. Attend Internal Development Program

    3. Learn Leadership Skills

    4. Engage your Team

    5. Get in The Game: Take Risk

    6. Get Strategic & Operational Experience

    7. Find a Role Model and Mentor

An advanced degree is required to be an effective nurse leader. An advanced degree offers additional skills beyond the practice of nursing, such as finance and strategy, for example. As nurses, we realize the importance of lifelong learning, and the concept is as equally important to nurse leaders. In order to develop learning agility, one must continuously learn leadership skills. Once you have made the commitment to further develop yourself as a leader, be sure to engage the entire team. Having an entire team dedicated to leadership development will promote innovation. Risk- taking is an essential competency to promote creativity, and sets you apart from others. Obtaining strategic and operational experience will further do so. In order to be successful in tomorrow’s health care environment, nurse leaders will be required to be strategic. Lastly, identify the best nurse leader you know; reach out to him or her; find out more about his or her care and management philosophy; study the leader’s work; and ask if you can work on a project with him or her.. Role models and mentors are extremely important (be sure to read my
previous blog on this topic: Is Mentoring Over-Rated? I Don’t Think So).

Do you aspire to be a nurse leader? If so, do you believe you need to obtain an advance degree?

Do you have a mentor, role model?

What can you do to obtain strategic and operational experiences?

Your opinion matters, so let us know what you think.

Source: Sylvain "Syl" Trepanier, DNP, RN, CENP, past vice president & system chief nursing officer
Content Updated: 6/25/2015 4:33:31 PM
2 comments about this post
Krista 6/25/2015 4:54:12 PM

Great information for those of us interested in a future career in nurse leadership. What advanced degree do you suggest? Would a dual degree (with an MBA) be a smart idea? Thank you Krista for your question. From my perspective the choice of your advance degree is extremely personal and will largely depend on your aspiration. Dr. Syl

Sara Strickland 6/26/2015 10:25:31 PM

Thanks for the great blog, Syl. I believe I am now a nurse leader, but I aspire to be a great one. I think obtaining an advanced degree adds many necesary skills, but is not always required to be nurse leader. I believe we have many nurse leaders at many levels of our organization. I do believe, however, that as you progress up the ladder of leadership, that adding skills through an advanced degree becomes much more important. I think as far as obtaining experiences, that there are many incredible opportunities at Premier if we open ourselves up and let those around us know our desire to be involved and to gain these experiences. I think Premier does a great job of involving people at all levels of the organization in decision making. This creates many vast opportunities to dive into new topics and learn new skills. You just have to be open to learning and humbled enough to take guidance and direction from all the experts that surround us. Thanks, again, Syl for the great post.

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