frontline nurses

The Impactful Leadership of Frontline Nurses

Social Title: Why Frontline Nurses Make Such Effective Leaders

Social Description: Qualities that make frontline nurses effective at their jobs also make them suited for leadership. Find out why nurses often make great leaders.

The nursing care profession places many demands on nurses, often putting them in leadership roles. Many of the qualities that make nurses so effective at their jobs often contribute toward making them good leaders.

To be sure, there are many initiatives focused on helping nurses develop leadership qualities. However, most of these are geared toward professionals already working formally in leadership positions, including nurse managers and executives, who are typically protected from risk exposures by nurse professional liability insurance.

In comparison, there is a lack of emphasis on developing leadership skills of direct patient care personnel. The Institute of Medicine is one of the few organizations pushing for the leadership development of nurses in all care levels and professional settings.

The relative scarcity of development initiatives in this area is unfortunate considering the ties between leadership and nursing care. Even now, there is mounting evidence suggesting the improvement of patient outcomes, workflow, and job satisfaction among nurses placed in leadership roles.

Readiness to assume leadership roles

Interestingly enough, many nurses are already prepared to assume leadership roles as soon as they earn their licenses. Competencies related to quality and safety education are incorporated into the curriculum of many nursing schools in the United States.

Consequently, new nurses already have the necessary skills and knowledge when entering the workforce. These include:

  • Collaboration
  • Teamwork
  • Safety
  • Quality improvement

Nurses’ training generally covers safety and overall quality in every aspect of patient care. Most nurses have extensive experience in interdisciplinary projects during education and training and expect to be placed in crucial positions when they begin working.

Furthermore, most nurses are placed in situations that test their leadership knowledge immediately. They typically experience a high level of engagement within the first few months of working and have the expertise and capability to lead safety huddles and contribute to inter-professional functions.

A work environment in which nurses can develop and evaluate nursing care initiatives at any level could only benefit the facility and the profession at large. This type of setting encourages more nurses to take on managerial and administrative roles and participate in care initiative management.

Apart from developing a sense of ownership in their duties, nurses encouraged into leadership roles are more likely to step into informal leadership functions and contribute to discussions. Subsequently, they develop a deeper sense of investment in the organization and become more willing to support and encourage other nurses to excel at their jobs.

Qualities that contribute to leadership ability

An argument could be made that many of the core components of transformational leadership align with the qualities frontline nurses need to excel in their jobs. In particular, understanding individual differences, intellectual stimulation, motivation, inspiration, and influential idealism are just as necessary for nurses in high-demand and high-stress positions as they are for potential leaders.

Acceptance of individual differences

To be most effective at their jobs, nurses need to accept the individual differences between other team members. When striving to achieve common goals, they have to consider the strengths and weaknesses of their peers and take on leadership roles when necessary.

Intellectual stimulation

Nurses are also required to have the ability to think critically. This is especially important among frontline nurses for whom increasing knowledge and building skills are essential qualities.

Motivation and inspiration

The nursing care environment flourishes when team members encourage each other to do their best. Ideally, everyone should have the opportunity to contribute ideas and share concerns without feeling awkward or out of line.

Influential idealism

Finally, nurses should be able to use their influence to embody the mission, vision, and values of the organization in which they work. This encourages direct care nurses to forge a deeper connection with these ideals and understand how they relate to patient care.

The value of developing nurses as leaders

Developing new leaders from the ranks of nurses can have many significant benefits on the nursing care profession and in caregiving in general. When frontline nurses are allowed to make decisions and implement changes in the workplace, they feel valued and trusted, which carries over to the rest of the workforce.

A working environment where nurses feel valued and trusted causes them to thrive. They tend to be much more resilient and creative at performing their duties, experience much less stress, and derive more satisfaction from their jobs. This, in turn, leads to better quality care and a safer patient environment. In the longer term, this leads to new nurses that are better prepared to handle the demands of their profession.

About Midwest Insurance Group

Midwest Insurance Group is a risk retention group developed by Caitlin Morgan Insurance Services in response to the unique needs of the healthcare industry, particularly that of senior living facilities. With rising premium costs and difficulties in obtaining coverage from the traditional professional and general liability insurance market, Midwest Insurance Group represents a viable, long-term insurance alternative for the senior living sector, giving members complete control over costs and claims management. Midwest Insurance Group is reinsured with Lloyd’s of London, and A rated by Demotech.


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