10 Leadership Qualities All Nurses Should Have

10 Leadership Qualities All Nurses Should Have


Being a great nurse requires more than a nursing degree and license. You also need to possess certain qualities, especially if you hope to land a leadership position. Whether you are new to the field or have several years of experience under your belt, developing strong leadership skills helps you communicate effectively, improves patient care and more. Doing so is also crucial for anyone looking to advance their career.

If you are passionate about patient care and want to play a role in creating a better environment for your fellow healthcare workers, you might be well suited to a leadership position. However, even if you aren’t ready to advance your career to that level, strengthening your skills now will better prepare you for the future. Keep reading to discover a few leadership qualities all nurses should possess.

1. Empathy and Compassion

Every nurse needs to be empathetic and compassionate. Without these qualities, delivering effective patient care is nearly impossible. They’re important leadership qualities too. When you put on your jogger scrubs for women and head to work, you are likely driven by a desire to help others. In addition to relying on your empathy and compassion when working with patients, remember these qualities when working with or training other nurses. A compassionate leader makes the job a little less stressful and ensures open communication among team members.

2. Effective Communication

You don’t become a leader by staying quiet or being afraid to speak up when something isn’t right. Developing effective communication skills makes you more articulate, and it’s vital in the healthcare industry. After all, patients’ lives are at stake.

Communicating effectively isn’t solely about talking, though. You also need to listen. Being an active listener shows your coworkers that you care about them and what they have to say. Doing so also allows you to build trust and form relationships. Effective communication helps prevent conflicts and mistakes too.

3. Decision-Making

Being able to make quick decisions is crucial when working in the fast-paced healthcare industry. There often is not a lot of time to decide how to handle a situation and, when every second counts, nurses sometimes need to make life-or-death decisions in an instant. Strong decision-making skills help position you as an effective leader and enhance your ability to provide the best patient care.

4. Conflict Resolution

Conflict is unavoidable. No matter what career you’re in, there will be disagreements, arguments, etc. Knowing how to deal with these situations is a crucial leadership skill for nurses. Strong conflict resolution skills allow you to improve teamwork and patient satisfaction, settle disagreements and encourage collaboration among your team.

5. Adaptability

If you are someone who dislikes change, working in healthcare might not be right for you. Regulations, best practices, medications and medical equipment are constantly evolving. Being a strong leader means embracing change and staying on top of the latest developments. Highly adaptable nurses can roll with the punches and help their less-adaptable colleagues or subordinates keep up with changes through effective communication.

6. Integrity

Patients and their families rely on nurses to deliver quality care. Nurses are also tasked with making the best choices for their patients and overseeing doctors’ orders for medications, treatments, etc. When you play such a big role in ensuring someone’s health, integrity is a must. Do your work honestly. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Uphold ethical nursing standards and encourage other nurses to do the same. Doing your job with integrity improves patient outcomes and positions you as an effective leader.

7. Critical Thinking

When you need to make healthcare decisions or overcome regulatory challenges and changes, critical thinking skills are crucial. You need to be able to assess the situation, weigh the options and estimate the potential outcome to determine the best course of action. Solid critical thinking skills will make you an asset to your team and help you find solutions to even the most complex problems. Having great critical thinking skills helps when shopping for jogger scrubs for women and other workwear too.

8. Accountability

Strong leaders hold themselves responsible for both their successes and failures. As a nurse, you must remain accountable to yourself and your team. Delivering the best patient care requires every team member to work together and do their best. Celebrating your successes is more enjoyable than admitting your failures, but both are equally important in nursing. Holding yourself accountable for mistakes is especially crucial since even minor errors can impact a patient’s prognosis.

9. Delegation

Even the best nurse leaders can’t do everything themselves. Instead, they have to know how to delegate tasks to other team members effectively. Dividing and assigning tasks to other nurses improves efficiency and ensures everything is handled in a timely manner. As an effective delegator, you’ll get to know your team and understand each member’s specialties, strengths and weaknesses. And with this information, you’ll be able to delegate tasks to the people who will complete them best. In addition to improving patient care, this improves job satisfaction by encouraging nurses to use their strongest skills.

10. Commitment to Professional Development and Education

Ongoing education is mandatory for nurses. However, some nurses are more committed to furthering their education and building a great career. Committing to education and professional development makes you a stronger leader by ensuring that you maintain an up-to-date skill set. It also allows you to foresee potential problems and changes.

Becoming a nursing leader takes a lot of time and dedication. Earning additional certifications or credentials, pursuing a post-graduate degree and signing up for training opportunities sets you apart from your colleagues and gives you the knowledge and skills necessary for leadership positions.


Leadership qualities are vital for all nurses — even those who don’t plan to pursue leadership opportunities. They enable you to deliver quality care to your patients and make you a valuable team member. Strong leaders have the greatest impact on the healthcare field. Whether you are fresh out of nursing school or have been working in healthcare for a while, strengthening your leadership skills is the best way to advance your career.