Clinical Nurse Leaders Should Have These 5 Qualities

  • Detail Oriented
  • Ability to Lead Others
  • Critical-thinking Skills
  • Compassion and Emotional Stability
  • Excellence in Communication and Organization

A person who is considering becoming a clinical nurse may wonder what characteristics a clinical nurse leader should possess. After a few years of nursing practice, a person could earn a Master’s in Nursing or work their way into a management position. These are five important qualities of a nurse who will work in a leadership role.

1. Detail Oriented

Clinical nurse leaders need to be detail oriented. They have to document every step of what they do for a patient. If the nurse is responsible for training floor nurses, then this person will also have to document the entire training process. These nurses must also be tuned in to the details of a patient’s condition. Even one symptom that is mentioned as an aside could make a big difference in a patient’s outcome. Careful timing is also required for medications and procedures, and nurse leaders need to be aware of what was done and when.

2. Ability to Lead Others

A clinical nurse leader has to have strong leadership skills. They should be able to set an example of how to behave and act in a variety of situations, including stressful events or dealing with angry, frustrated or worried family members. These nurses should also be skilled at leading ancillary staff members, including patient care associates, therapists and others who help in the care of a patient in the clinical setting.

3. Critical-thinking Skills

When leading a team of nurses or providing direct care to a patient, a clinical nurse may need to use critical-thinking skills. Perhaps all pieces of equipment of a certain type are in use, so the nurse must find another way to care for the patient. The nurse must also be able to evaluate the changes in a patient’s condition and know when to either make a referral to a specialty physician or to take action in order to prevent worsening of the patient’s condition.

4. Compassion and Emotional Stability

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compassion and emotional stability are also key characteristics of a leader in clinical nursing. The nurse must be able to maintain steady emotions when expressing bad news to a patient or a family. The nurse must also be able to handle criticism from management, short tempers of physicians or anger or frustration from family members. Patients may berate the nurse or complain, and the nurse leader should be adept at handling it. At the same time, nurses should show compassion for the patient and their family.

5. Excellence in Communication and Organization

People of all cultures, backgrounds and languages need healthcare services. A nurse leader’s ability to communicate and organize information is essential to the job. The nurse should be able to provide medical information in a way that the patient and the patient’s family can understand. The information recorded in charts should be organized in a logical manner, with no details left out of charts.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader Online Programs

After several years of working as a nurse in different settings, a person could be promoted to a leadership role. Earning additional certifications or a master’s degree in nursing is another way to advance into a clinical nurse leader position. Knowing and developing these five characteristics of a clinical nurse leader could help a person advance in their nursing career.