Should you advance your career with a leadership role in nursing? - Dream Health

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Thursday, 19 January 2023

Should you advance your career with a leadership role in nursing?

Nursing Course

There is considerable demand for experienced nurses who are willing to take on executive leadership roles. If you are considering advancing your nursing career, now is a great time.

If the characteristics below sound like you, you likely have what it takes to be an excellent leader in the nursing field.

The ability to make considered but fast decisions

If you are in charge of others, you need to be able to make decisions quickly but not without thinking them through to avoid mistakes. This means gaining experience in a variety of medical settings. Experience makes it easier to make fast decisions that still provide the best direction and improve patient care.


With experience comes confidence. A leader in nursing needs to exude an aura of confidence so that other nurses and medical personnel feel that they have a leader who knows what they are doing. Confidence also discourages others from questioning decisions more often than they should, thereby saving time when taking care of patient needs.

Good organization and delegation

Organization is a must in any nursing position, but when you are a leader, how well organized you are will trickle down to those to whom you delegate tasks. You need to figure out which organizational methods work best for you. Setting reminders and reviewing tasks and schedules to check for errors are good approaches.

Knowing the best way to delegate tasks may take a bit of learning as you go, especially if you are starting in a new leadership role at a different facility working with people you have not worked with before. Learning your staff's strengths, weaknesses and experience levels will help you in this process.

Empathy and respect for other people

A nursing leader's ability to recognize emotions and relate to others is a critical quality. You will need to be able to read the emotional state of your fellow employees and the patients you interact with daily. That can add up to a lot of people through the course of the workweek.

Acting respectfully with others, even if you are not given the same amount of respect, can be difficult at times, but it is an essential quality in a leader in nursing. Patients who are going through a hard time may not always act in the most respectful way. A leader needs to be able to not take that personally and acknowledge the patient’s needs and concerns.

Fast and efficient conflict resolution skills

While avoiding conflicts in the workplace is preferable when possible, there are times when conflict is inevitable. A nursing leader needs to empathize with both sides of a conflict and guide the parties involved toward a resolution. The best leaders can pick up on conflicts sooner rather than later so they do not escalate and turn into bigger problems.

Excellent listening skills

It is crucial to listen and keep up with what is happening in your workplace, especially when it comes to the staff you lead. This means always making time to talk one-on-one with employees when an issue arises. Regular team meetings are another great way to ensure everyone is up to date on important news and announcements and to give a voice to anyone who wants to speak up about a concern. While it may not be possible to deal with every issue during a meeting, nursing leaders can make a list and start strategizing to create a more positive environment for patients and staff alike.

A strong interest in learning

As a leader, you need to be on top of your game. This means reading and learning about advancements in medicine, new nursing techniques and practices, and what credentials could help your staff provide a higher standard of patient care.

Nurse leaders should be willing to attend conferences and seminars and earn extra credentials and certificates throughout their careers.

How can I become a leader in nursing?

Here is a look at what you will need to pursue leadership roles in the nursing field.


Most nursing leaders have several years of experience working as a licensed registered nurse in a clinical or hospital setting. Many are mid-career or senior-level nurses who wish to advance their careers. The more experience a leader has in a medical setting, the better suited they are to a leadership role.

An advanced degree

Nurses in leadership roles typically hold an advanced degree at the master’s or doctorate level. Taking DNP nursing leadership courses can lead to a doctorate of nursing practice in executive nursing leadership. This degree is achievable online while you continue to work and gain even more experience.

What are the advantages of becoming a leader in nursing?

Here are some of the top benefits of pursuing nursing leadership roles.

Advancing your career by sharing your years of experience

Becoming a nursing leader is a good way to share your years of experience and knowledge with others. This helps create a more positive environment for patients and staff at your facility.

Higher salary

Nurse executives and leaders command an average salary of $108,562, plus various benefits such as paid time off, sick pay and medical insurance. Retirement plans are typically available at major medical facilities as well.

You have a say in how a medical facility is run

An executive position means you have more say in how your facility operates. This allows you to create positive changes and improve the healthcare of people in your area.


If healthcare standards are to remain high, there must be experienced nurses in leadership positions to mentor and direct medical personnel. Now is a great time for nurses to advance their careers and help influence the future of medical care.

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