“Rejoice in your work; never lose sight of the nursing leader you are now and the nursing leader you will become.” – Sue Fitzsimons
Leadership, a vital, important and necessary requirement every professional body must consciously and continuously cultivate among its ranks.
There is a dire need for true leadership these days, leadership that has a purpose, not just leadership bestowed due to age, qualifications of any sort or some other quality that does not reflect the true characteristics of what true leadership really is.
Not many you see up there possess the virtues of leadership, for if all those up there had the true spirit of leadership, our professional progress will be faster than this.
In this article, I will write simply, from my own perspective, I will try to articulate what is in my heart in very simple words, some of the important qualities every registered nurse must develop.
Development is a gradual process, a slow one [step by step, systematic], it is guided by extreme purpose and a desire to see that one makes progress in vital aspects of his life, ranging from their professional life to their health, social relationships, financial life and every facet of life.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. ” –John Quincy Adams
Nurses are not left out of the train of development. Though this important concept has been neglected for a long time in nursing practice [in Nigeria], leadership and mentorship are as important as any other aspect of nursing practice, the reason simply being that leadership development enhances nursing practice by providing nurses with the right frame of mind, giving them adequate confidence to convey safe and efficient care to recipients, groom upcoming nurses [mentorship], represent the profession in various social, economic and political endeavours.
Leadership enhances nurses participation in various activities that may not be core clinical nursing, but are as important to the profession.
In Nigeria and Africa, nurses are not well represented in vital strategic areas of government, politics, law and legislation and other important public structures. This deficiency in nursing leadership on the continent, which is partly due to the negligence of the profession over the years has caused the profession enough harm.
She has been cheated, embarrassed and relegated to the backstage, all because the profession refused to give leadership development in nursing the same attention it gives other aspects of nursing practice.
Follow me, as I try to discuss some of the vital qualities nursing leaders must strive to develop.
The first on my list is Professional Confidence.
Nurse leaders are saddled with the responsibility of leading us into the future of nursing. Call them nurse managers, but here my desire is to address leadership from a general perspective as it concerns every nurse. You must have confidence in your profession. Confidence decorates you with guts, giving you the audacity to stand among other health care practitioners. This is what leadership does, it strengthens, enhances and uplifts the professional image, providing nurses with strength and reasons to remain in the profession, contributing their own quota.
The next is advocacy. Advocacy is a criterion every nurse leader must possess. It is a role that turns the nurse into a professional bridge that tries to eliminate gaps that exist between the nurse and other health care practitioners or the client. Advocacy involves the active building of relationships for professional advancement.
Nurse leaders must develop the necessary skills, skills every leader is expected to have, which include:
Writing Skills; A lost art among nurses, especially nurses in Nigeria and Africa. Nurses feel lazy when it comes to putting pen on paper and creating their ideas or perspectives on paper.
Reading Skills; The making of a leader is not complete without reading. Leaders are readers. The lack of enthusiasm for writing and reading among nurses has made it difficult for nurses to absorb the nature of carrying out researches, which is one attribute every serious professional body must possess.
Public Relations skills; We are in a public world, where we meet with people every day. For leaders, they must be able to effectively communicate with people they see. Nurses need to pay close attention to their public relations skills. How to interact with people, how to bring forth your own opinions on a matter, these among other things should be inculcated by every nursing leader.
The ability to mentor. Leaders must have in their hearts the welfare of the young nurses. In the not so distant future, compulsory gaps will be made, which will require filling. The question is this; are we going to have better nurses to fill these voids made by retiring nurses? Herein lies the usefulness of mentorship. Nursing leaders today should use their power of influence to help inspire younger nurses and as aspiring leaders, we must begin the learning process now, on how to stand as effective mentors.
Time and space will not allow me to talk about professionalism, maturity, hard work, creativity and the ability to be open-minded and readiness to learn. But these few notes are worthy enough to inspire a part of you that sincerely wants to get better. Your perspectives are welcome.