Be a nurse leader

Nursing leadership is vital not only to the long-term credibility of the nursing practice, but to achieving good patient and client care. Research shows that effective, supportive nurse managers not only have better recruitment and retention rates at the place where they work, but improved patient outcomes.

Effective nursing leadership is important in all nursing roles, whether you’re practising in the field of education developing future leaders, a researcher who mentors new researchers, an administrator who provides support and guidance to staff, a practitioner who provides exemplary care and shares professional knowledge or someone who provides direction and support to practice through policy development.

For new graduates…nursing leadership may mean learning how to effectively delegate and supervise others.

For experienced nurses…nursing leadership includes precepting, mentoring, administrative duties, being “in-charge” and other professional activities.

There are five transformational leadership practices, briefly outline below. Learn all you need to know about being an effective nursing leader with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s best practice guideline “Developing and Sustaining Nursing Leadership.”

Five transformational leadership practices

  1. Building relationships and trust. This practice provides the foundation upon which the remaining four practices rest. Trust, fairness and respect are key values in healthy organizations.
  2. Creating an empowering work environment. This entails having access to information, support, resources and opportunities to learn and grow within a setting that supports professional autonomy and strong networks of collegial support.
  3. Creating an environment that supports knowledge development and integration. This involves fostering the development and dissemination of new knowledge and a continuous inquiry approach to practice.
  4. Leading and sustaining change. This involves taking a proactive and participatory approach to implementing change that results in improved clinical and organizational processes and outcomes.
  5. Balancing competing values and priorities. This entails advocating for necessary nursing resources to ensure high quality patient care while recognizing the multiple demands that must be address in organizational decision-making.

Here are some additional tools you can use to enhance your nursing leaderships, make stronger decisions and promote the success of your organization and your career.

Advanced Clinical/Practice Fellowships (in Ontario)

This 12- to 20-week program (a total of 450 hours) is designed to provide an extensive mentoring experience for a registered nurse (RN) wishing to increase clinical, leadership or guideline implementation skills. Funding is provided by the Government of Ontario and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, as well as through financial support by the organization where the RN is employed.

Nursing in Northern Ontario? You may qualify for increased funding.

Check out the Advanced Clinical/Practice Fellowships (ACPF) for more information.

EXTRA — The Executive Training for Research Application Fellowship Program

This two-year program aims to ensure superior management decisions by Canadian health-care executives are informed by evidence. It is managed by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.

Learn more at Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF).

Learn more about being a nurse leader at the Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario.

  • Did you know? Effective nursing leadership...
    • Is an essential ingredient in achieveing a healthy work environment for nurses.
    • Influences and contributes to a healthy organization and a healthy community.
    • Is influenced by the organizational culture, values, and supporting resources.
    • Is shaped by the personal resources and the uniqueness of each individual.
    • Is influenced by policy, socio-cultural and professional contexts.
  • Real nursing leadership stories

    Read four examples of leadership by Ontario RNs at different stages of their career. Discover what inspires them to guide, mobilize and motivate others.
    Poonam Sharma - Student at the University of New Brunswick-Humber College
    Amanda Leroux - Intensive Care RN at Queensway-Carleton Hospital (QCH)
    Valerie Parkes - Patient Care Manager at West Park Healthcare Centre
    Carole Devine - Executive Director at Suppels Landing Retirement Home
    Follow the Leader (PDF), from RN Journal, Nov/Dec 2008