Nurses at every level of the care continuum must be leaders. Showing leadership doesn’t only help your department run smoothly, but it also improves communication and patient outcomes. This post explores four strategies every nurse can use to can show leadership qualities—no matter your title.


Being an excellent follower

Regardless of your role, the best leaders still know how to be followers. What does it mean to be a follower? Good leaders understand that leadership is more about the collective “we” than about the individual “I.” Research has found that the most respected leaders typically don’t set out to be leaders. Instead, they see themselves as one of the team and earn others’ respect by working alongside them.

Whatever role you’re playing in your ASC, lead by example. Follow the best standards in patient safety. Model ideal handwashing hygiene. Exemplify excellent bedside manner. Holding yourself to the highest standards inspires others around you to do the same.

Getting involved

Besides direct patient care, there are numerous additional ways nurses can make a difference in communities. Don’t be afraid to get involved in local professional chapters, community organizations, or volunteer on committees.

As a nurse, you are one of the most critical members of the healthcare community. Globally, it is estimated that nurses are involved in delivering 90% of all healthcare services. You spend so much time directly interacting with patients that your perspective is unique and essential to improving healthcare.


Fostering mentorship

Research has shown that mentorship in nursing is one of the most strategic, helpful ways to retain new nurses. While some ASCs may have formal mentorship programs in place, often, mentoring opportunities arise spontaneously.

According to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, successful mentorship is built on a few fundamental tenets:

  • Mutual trust and respect
  • Both mentor and mentee share information about themselves
  • Both parties are willing to give constructive feedback
  • Mentors regularly express that they believe in the mentee’s success

If you have been in the nursing profession for a few years, identify ways that you can share your experiences with other fellow nurses. If you are new to the field, find an experienced nurse who can help you grow, and foster your leadership skills.


Educating others

For years, nurses have ranked among the most trusted professionals in the U.S., listed among firefighters, police officers, physicians, and social workers. This means that, as a nurse, you are the perfect person to help patients—and the community at large—understand health.

Pay attention to learning styles, communicate with empathy, and engage family members in explaining care plans. Excellent nurse educators are open and transparent. They build relationships and meet patients where they are, understanding the context of a patient’s current health. Acting as an example of strong patient communication is another way you can build a reputation as a leader. When you do well, your coworkers will notice—and you will likely inspire others to aspire to excellence, too.