Building a Sustainable Career As a Nursing Leader

When you want to make a difference as a nurse, you enter the world of leadership. You can have a great impact and difference in the lives of professionals and in the lives of patients and their families when you embrace leadership. To get the most out of leadership, you must be focused on achieving success and you must be focused on sustainability.

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Changes may not happen overnight, and as change can sometimes take time, you have to be sure that you have the sustainability to make changes and implement them. If you have lots of ideas and visions, but you are not focused on sustainability too, then you will find your ideas and visions may never get the chance to come to fruition.

What is Your Vision for Leadership

To begin with, you must have a vision as a leader. Others will look to you for both guidance and support and it is important that you have the vision to share with them. Without a vision, your time in leadership will lack direction and focus, and ultimately this will mean that you do not get the results that you want.

So, think about what your vision for leadership is? Do you want to focus on leading changes and improvements? Are you looking at getting more nurses into the industry? Are you looking to provide better care and treatment for patients by introducing new policies? What does your vision look like to you and of course what does it look like to others? When you have culminated and perfected your vision, you will find it is much easier to lead and direct other professionals within the nursing industry.

Investing in Yourself and In Your Career

You are your best asset in your leadership career, and it is important that you commit to investing all that you can into yourself and your career. When you invest in everything you have to offer, you can be sure that you achieve your vision. When it comes to investing in yourself, you have to be prepared to make compromises and you have to be prepared to grow and adapt to ensure you get the results that you want.

If you are not fully invested in yourself and in your career, then how can you get others to follow your lead and how can you expect to influence larger groups of people? You may find it beneficial to create a career plan at an early stage in your leadership career. This leadership plan or career plan will help you to make sure that you are giving it your all, at all times. If you find that you deviate or lose sight of your career plan, you may need to make corrections to ensure that you maintain a sustainable career.

Using Your Experience and Knowledge

You have a great deal of knowledge and experience in other roles, and in your experiences with patients and other nursing professionals. How you share and use this is important, when you can feed off your own experiences and knowledge, you can then grow and growth is important to any leader. To be a great nursing leader you must bring your experience and knowledge to the forefront of your role. You have to extract useful information and knowledge, and you have to weave this into your role and your visions.

If you have firsthand experience as a nursing professional (perhaps as a registered nurse), then why not use this to build your policies and practices moving forwards. Those that are looking to you for leadership and guidance will appreciate real and relatable information and guidance, so be sure that you can give this to them as much as possible.

Being Involved With Other Nursing Professionals and Leaders

As a leader, it is important to remember that you are not alone and you should never act like you are. Isolated leaders are rarely successful or in a position long enough to have an impact and make a difference. Reaching out to other nursing professionals and leaders will give you a sense of support and a sense of guidance.

When it comes to being involved with others, you need to join professional membership organizations and you need to build your professional support networks. When you have others to bounce ideas off, and to get feedback from, you can grow and develop as a leader. When you form connections with other leaders both inside and outside of nursing, you form bonds and you show unity to those that you are leading. Networking and building bridges with other professionals can help you succeed and thrive in a leadership role.

Advancing Your Education

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When you have a position within leadership, you have to focus on advancing your education more now than ever. Being at the forefront of change and development, and positively leading growth is crucial.

When you see just how education is critical in nursing leadership you will be prepared to embrace and advance your education, even if this means making temporary sacrifices and compromises to your work/life balance. When you advance your education, you improve your knowledge and awareness, but you also reiterate the importance of education to all other professionals, including the ones who are looking to you for guidance and advice. To ensure sustainability in leadership you need to see education and professional development as continuous. When you do this, you see the value and the importance in every area of your role and within leadership.

Focusing Firmly on the Future

Leaders do not have the time to stay still, and it is important that you focus firmly on the future. What changes would you like to see in the future, and what growth would you like to see? When you have firm and strong plans for the future, you have targets and goals to work towards – these are going to be important for you, and for those that you are working with. When you focus on the future, you embrace what is happening currently in the nursing industry, but you recognize and appreciate that change and development must come.

As a future-focused leader, you will be focused on anticipating change and planning for it at the same time. Preparation and planning are essential for sustainability in leadership.

Leadership Styles – Which One Suits You

What type of leader are you and what leadership style do you work towards or embody? The leadership style that you possess may not be the one that works for you. Self-evaluation is crucial and critical in leadership, and looking at hope you approach leadership regularly is important. If you are finding that an approach is not working, then you need to make changes sooner rather than later.

Leadership styles can be flexible and they can be adaptable, and you may find that your style embodies several styles. For example, you might be a future-focused leader, but you may always want to try and lead from the middle. When you know what leadership style you want to embrace and run with, you can then start bringing your visions to life and pushing forwards.

Leading Compassionately

Nursing is based on compassion and empathy. To ensure success and sustainability in your leadership role, you have to be sure that you can lead with compassion. Nursing professionals and those involved directly (or indirectly) within the industry need time, support and compassion to grow and develop. Expecting too much and too soon is not going to work. When you lead compassionately, you take other people’s values and approaches into your thoughts and you build processes and plans that work for the many and not just for the few. When you show compassionate leadership, you will find that you will get more back from those that you are working with. There is more likelihood of collaboration and sharing, and this is of course important for growth.

Committing to Growth and Change

Leaders do not have the time or chance to stand still. You need to be committed to change and growth in all areas. Whether this is as a professional or as a leader in charge. When you are committed to change and growth, you see that everything has the potential to be improved. If you are not committed, you can find that you get stuck in a role or in a mindset that can be hard to break free from.

Adaptability and Flexibility are Essential

All leaders have to show a great deal of adaptability and flexibility. Things change in any industry, and change and progression can happen gradually or rapidly. Being prepared for change and adapting to change as it happens is important. If you are not adaptable and flexible to the need of patients, employees and the healthcare sector, then how can you expect other nursing professionals to be? When you are flexible and adaptable, you show that you are prepared to develop, and development is what is needed to ensure sustainability within leadership.


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