Why Leadership Is Important in Nursing

Nurses need to be role models and leaders, as the profession is dynamic and demanding. Identifying and developing nurse leaders has become the most significant challenge for nurses in today’s challenging healthcare environment. Nursing students need to know about the importance of leadership in nursing. Why? The answer is simple: nurses are leaders, and they need a strong understanding of what it means to lead to provide high-quality care for their patients.

In this article, we will discuss everything from how a nurse’s perspective changes when he or she becomes a leader, to the qualities that make an effective leader at work. We’ll also talk about how you can become more successful as a nurse by becoming more involved with your leadership skills.

What is leadership?

The concept of leadership is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon; research conducted for over a century concludes that although it is one of the most observed concepts, no universally accepted definition or theory of leadership exists.

Leadership can be difficult to define but generally refers to the ability of an individual or group of individuals to influence others. It’s not something that everyone can do well, but there are many different ways that nurses can become stronger leaders in their jobs.

What is Nurse Leadership?

Nursing leadership strives to mentor other healthcare providers and nurses to educate them on making autonomous decisions.

Besides keeping an eye on patient safety and budgeting challenges, nurse leaders bring their nursing expertise to help shape the care delivery strategies at health care facilities.

The nurse leader’s work is correlated with increased patient satisfaction, fewer medical errors, improved staff retention, and more efficient facility management. Collectively, these positives contribute to the success of a facility.

Types of nursing leadership include:

Nurse Educator: The nurse educator has to provide health care professionals and nurses with up-to-date education on clinical practices, innovations in technology that can improve patient care, or insights into healthcare policy.

Nurse Developer: This is a newer nursing leadership role in which a nurse develops new programs by mapping out goals for innovation and partnership development.

The nurse developer must also implement these changes to meet their objectives and maintain staff morale over time.

Nurse Executive: The responsibilities of this role involve managing all aspects of an organization’s nursing department, from recruitment to discharge planning. They often oversee physicians and other allied health personnel as well as manage budgets within their respective departments.

Research Facilitator: In this, you have to research a topic on your own, which will then be the basis of what you will share with others.

Assessment Coordinator: This is a coordinator that assesses the needs of patients to ensure they are getting proper care.

Course Director: This leader ensures at least one course in their expertise meets all criteria for education and certification standards.

Nurse Manager: Responsible for managing any number of nurses or staff and handling administrative tasks so that it does not interfere with patient care.

Nursing leaders are expected to serve as role models for other nurses, educators, clinical advisement members, quality improvement professionals, administrators, and the public.

Many other occupations require leadership skills, but these should give you an idea of how important this trait can be when performing your job duties.

Leadership will make sure those who work under them follow procedures correctly by setting up guidelines and providing examples of what needs to happen. They also help keep morale high among peers when there are difficult circumstances.

They must also know all aspects of nursing care, including diagnosis and treatment plans, medical conditions associated with particular illnesses, or injuries that may require immediate intervention from another healthcare provider such as an emergency room doctor or surgeon.

Benefits of Being a Leader in Nursing

There are many benefits of being a leader in nursing, and while it’s not always easy to be the one who is giving orders, there are plenty of advantages to consider.

  • Leaders have more responsibility for themselves as well as others
  • It can make you feel good about yourself if you’re working hard on your career goals
  • You’ll get to help people with their problems instead of just doing what they want you to do every day without even thinking.
  • Leadership is an integral part of the nursing profession and can be very rewarding if you are self-aware enough to see it.

Leaders get more opportunities to help themselves by taking care of their own needs, such as staying on top of their educational goals or setting up long-term retirement plans, instead of putting them off until later when they’re harder to do. You can make decisions about what’s best for yourself and keep track of how things like finances are going.

Another perk is that good leaders tend to be fulfilled in their roles because they know that they have worked hard at their career goals, they’re not just doing what they’re told daily without even thinking. Besides being a leader, there are a lot of great ways to support new nurses.

Challenges of Being a Leader in Nursing

We have shared the benefits above, but you cannot get them without challenges or struggles.  It is essential to know about these challenges so you can better prepare for them.

The truth is that leadership in nursing requires a different set of skills than other professions, and we will highlight those as well.

The first challenge nurses struggle with on their path to becoming leaders is how they are often perceived by others in society, especially when compared to doctors or physicians.

Nurses traditionally work under much more supervision at times. They don’t have the same level of autonomy granted from patients who may be distrustful because they believe nurses have less education (sometimes proper).

Nurses also must struggle with perceptions related to gender, which drives many of them to feel like they don’t have the same opportunities as men.

Many people assume that because nurses are primarily women, they must be less qualified for leadership positions than male colleagues.

In response, some nursing schools are now instituting programs to encourage more female faculty members and administrators.

The second challenge is related to the first one: The perception of a nurse’s education or level of expertise by patients who may not know much about their profession.

When it comes down to it, all physicians, whether male or female, need educated nurses on hand at any given time so there isn’t just an assumption that you can treat anyone without knowledge differently from someone else.


Leadership is a demanding profession that requires many skills. It can be rewarding, but it also has its challenges. We encourage all nurses who are thinking of taking this step to take this time now to educate themselves with this helpful article and these professional development tips and ideas, if they want the best chance of succeeding in their new role.

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