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Five Common but Critical Roles Nurse Leadership Provides

Leadership in nursing provides critical direction and support for other nurses and personnel in a hospital or clinic, especially in medical care environments where each position is expected to function on its own and be fairly responsive throughout the work day. As a result, nursing leaders have to carry quite a bit of weight and cover multiple roles to help new nurses, and medical personnel meet the needs of the hospital as they occur.

Leadership Roles in Nursing

These roles can include five common areas frequently needed:

Integrated Care Coordination – while doctors may provide the actual diagnosis or complex treatment itself, nurses coordinate and provide the majority of care under a doctor’s direction. This requires inter-disciplinary communication, coordination, management and follow-up with different branches, offices, specialties and staff as a patient’s case may require. This can involve lead nurses managing different care rounds in a large organization, as well as handling non-physician employees.

Point of Contact – often lead nurses find themselves in the role of the filter and conduit to and from the assigned physician for all other related staff involved with a patient’s case. As a result, such lead nurses can essentially be the floor manager reporting to physicians while handling multiple patients’ ongoing care and multiple staff involved providing that care. Where immediate care is needed without a physician, the lead nurse is frequently leading the team’s response in treatment, including specialized care.

Administration of Best Practices – lead nurses are frequently seen as an extension of administration, disseminating and teaching lower level nurses and clinical staff, which best practices to follow in healthcare delivery. This is particularly relevant in advanced nursing tasks and skill-training. They are also frequently assigned monitoring and oversight of practices to make sure the unit as a whole is performing to standards as expected by the hospital or clinic management. Being the point person for ensuring practical quality improvement in the nursing ranks, the lead nurse also provides reporting and input on how such practices when developed will affect staff and patients.

Mentoring, Training and Coaching – one of the traditional roles of a leading nurse has been to provide the path and guidance for younger, newer nurses both in formal training, as well as in informal guidance and counseling on the floor and in the work environment. The role is incredibly powerful as it shapes new nurses considerably in how they perform, their expectations of their job, and how successful they will be in performance, as well as their own advancement in a nursing career. Not surprisingly then, hospitals and clinics put significant consideration on whom they decide to place in the leading nurse role as a result. It can shape a whole generation of nursing and clinical staff.

Communication with Patients and Families – Lastly, but definitely not least, leading nurses takes on the task of handling patients, as well as families, communicating valuable information needed by them to understand the care to be delivered, as well as the results provided by the assigned physician. Often, nurses are the personal link between the healthcare facility and the patients’ family members, particularly in serious cases of critical care or even death. Because of this role, leading nurses impact people’s lives greatly every day, as well as how they adjust to sickness and treatment.

Take-Away Point

Nurses definitely play a critical role in health provision to patients, but leading nurses are even more powerful in how many lives they have impacted on a regular basis. Understanding the full scope of this function is critical for the success of leader nurses because their actions can have numerous impacts, both direct and indirect.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association
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