Providing excellent patient care demands more than excellent clinical skills. Your skills as a leader greatly affect your ability to influence patient care and the profession of nursing. As the largest healthcare profession in the United States and the profession positioned on the front line of patient care, nurses are crucial for leading change and advancing health.1 In 2008, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine began an initiative to assess and transform the nursing profession. A key message of their report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, is the recommendation that nurses be full partners together with physicians and other healthcare professionals in redesigning the country’s health care system.1
Leadership skills are the learned attributes that make you more effective in influencing others. The skills of communicating effectively—managing conflicts; delegating and evaluating the work of others; managing change, stress, and time; using critical thinking; and taking charge of your own career—are essential leadership skills. Nurses who develop a reputation for having effective leadership skills add greatly to their value as employees in any healthcare organization.
On an individual level, nurses who develop their leadership skills can significantly increase their ability to provide outstanding patient care and will position themselves to achieve a high level of professional satisfaction.