What a week this has been! It’s wonderful to celebrate National Nurses Week – to enjoy conversations with the nurses in our nursing community, learning about their current activities and reading their blog posts.
It’s so important to take time to acknowledge the many contributions of nurses and to recognize our current and future leaders. After reading this week’s blogs and the different perspectives on nursing, I have a BIG smile on my face.
What really grabbed my attention was the passion and excitement each nurse expressed about her work. It seems clear that each of these individuals is demonstrating leadership in her current role, from graduate student to HIMSS Board Chair-Elect, from vendor to provider.
As I look back on this week, I am reflecting on what it takes to be a leader.
Who comes to mind when you think of someone who is a great leader? Some of the bloggers this week mentioned people who inspired them to begin their nursing careers. Others reflected on events that occurred or mentors that encouraged them to advance down a certain career path.
What leadership traits do you admire most in those that have inspired you? One trait that comes to mind is being willing and able to stand up for what you believe in. Leaders do this well. It is not an afterthought, or something they have to be reminded of. It simply comes from having the courage of their convictions.
- Do you speak up for what’s important in your organization?
- Do you do the same in your profession, your specialty, or your community?
- Are you able to express yourself in a way that makes others listen?
- Are you willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone?
Speaking up for what is right requires being confident that you are focused on the right principles and that your mission and vision are sound. Nurses are, first and foremost, patient advocates. That advocacy role lays a wonderful foundation for speaking up on others’ behalf. True leaders challenge themselves and others to make a difference. Speaking up takes courage, but when you look back at your career, I bet those are the moments that you will remember, and be most proud of.
I will never forget one of the nursing instructors in my ADN program, Mrs. Ackert. She had a reputation for being tough and giving students a hard time. But she taught me one of the best lessons that I learned in school. She reminded us daily that we weren’t becoming nurses to simply give good patient care. She stressed that the most important thing that we were learning was how to think. And I still take that advice to heart each day.
- Do you think about how you influence those around you?
- Do you take the time to mentor others as future leaders?
- Do you empower your staff members to think for themselves and take the necessary actions to advance their work both within and outside of your organization?
If so, this is a great week to commend yourself as a leader and for others to offer thanks for what you do.
And, before we leave Nurses Week, be sure to check out the many tools and resources the members of the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Community have developed to help you advance as a leader.
In closing, I will quote another great leader who said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Bill Gates.
Sounds like good advice to me.