Rhonda Collins, MSN, RN, is Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera. Her most recent CNO Perspective report is called Using Integrated Technologies to Solve Today’s Nursing Challenges: A How-to Guide for Nurse Leaders.
The theme of National Nurses Week this year is Inspire, Innovate, Influence. To me, these concepts are the essence of leadership in nursing.
Something I hear a lot from nurses is, “I don’t have much power because I just work at the bedside.”
That is simply untrue. Leadership is power, and we are all leaders in nursing.
Some nurses lead in more seemingly obvious ways such as overseeing other nurses, setting policy for a unit, or setting the vision and strategy for patient care in a hospital system.
Some lead in quieter ways, independently making decisions that have bearing on the health and well-being of our patients. Sometimes a patient’s life is in our hands. That is leadership.
Lead by Inspiring
A t-shirt I like to wear says, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Being kind is the essence of inspiration in nursing. We inspire people just by seeing the value in humanity and giving of ourselves.
Whether you’re a leader from the bedside inspiring those around you to provide extraordinary patient care, or a leader inspiring those who make policy, it’s your vision and drive that move people forward.
Lead by Influencing
For the 16th year in a row, nurses were ranked number one in a Gallup poll of honesty and ethical standards in professions. This in and of itself demonstrates the influence nurses have.
When I led The American Nurse Project, my goal was to elevate nurses’ voices so they could tell their own stories. I wanted to show the influence they have in their communities as the backbone of healthcare.
We nurse the communities we live in, whether we’re coaching a ball team, driving a van full of cheerleaders, co-leading a scout troop, or helping people who are suffering. Whatever it is we do, we’re often on the front line of contributing to our community’s health and well-being and ensuring people have healthy places to go and healthy activities to do.
Lead by Innovating
I always say, if you want to see innovation, give a nurse a roll of tape and some bandage scissors!
Nurses are masters of workarounds. We’ll do whatever is needed to ensure our patients are cared for. We make sure they get the treatment, medications, and care they need, at the time of need.