Nursing leadership is a unique role in the nursing profession. I have had many co-workers move into leadership, and I had the pleasure of examining the transition and requirements. If you want to pursue nursing leadership, I recommend you cultivate your critical thinking skills, conduct the proper research regarding your role in conjunction with employee needs and, evaluate the environment for emergent issues.
Cultivating critical thinking skills is the first step to pursuing nursing leadership. In order to be in the leadership position, you must have the proper background and experience to manage typical floor dynamics. For example, if you work on a dialysis floor, you must have the adequate skills to troubleshoot common issues within that patient population. Whether the problems are care-based or function-based, these are the issues you will need to resolve when you enter management. Leadership must have the proper understanding of various moving parts to present safe, appropriate solutions. Nothing is more frustrating than going to leadership about a problem and them having no idea where to start.
Cultivating your role in conjunction with employees is the next step. Once you have the background and critical thinking, it’s now time to dive deep into your position and find out what will be required of you. When you enter leadership, most often than not, its to lead. When you are leading, you are directing and problem-solving. So, dive into that very concept. What is your role on the floor? Managing nurses? Budgets? Supplies? Everything? What will be expected of you? You have to figure this out before you go starting a position you have no interest in. Speak to the employees, find out what the urgent concerns are. You would be surprised by what you learn by simply talking to the nurses on the floor. They know what is working and what needs to be changed.
Lastly, evaluate the environment for emergent issues. Walk around the floor, see the supplies or lack thereof. Find out if you have the tools you need to work with and what you need to work on. Things in leadership take time. You have to be able to see the full picture and not merely the fires. Your outlook has to be further out, more broad and expanded. Employees focus on days, while leadership has to focus on upcoming months or quarters. The goal is to see a problem approaching and manage it properly. That ability takes a proper viewpoint and ability to see things from various angles.