In a field such as nursing, tensions can arise and the job can become hectic due to patient or administrative issues. Individuals who are true leaders are an integral part of the job, because not only can effective leadership boost morale, it can promote increased and efficient productivity. There are several traits and principles of successful nursing leadership. As a nurse who aspires to become a leader, one must be in control of their responsibilities and possess the ability to comfort and empathize, inspire, and create future leaders.

Controlling Tasks

One cannot be a true leader without commanding respect and authority. Authority, however, does not only refer to keeping other employees on task, it also refers to taking care of personal responsibilities. If individuals in the workplace can see someone constantly taking care of their responsibilities and exhibiting discipline, they are more likely to view that individual as as one who takes care of any task at hand. According to the official journal of the American Nurses Association (ANA), one of the principles that improves effectiveness as a leader is committing to excellence. Author Naté Guyton writes, “As a leader you must be committed to your passion and purpose, and have the type of commitment that turns into perseverance.” Being committed to any task at hand is a key characteristic of leadership, and draw others closer to a leader.

Comfort and Empathy

In nursing, emotions and feelings can be volatile, especially with heavy workloads and life and death situations. When nurses experience high stress, it is necessary for them to have not only a healthy outlet through which they can cope, but an environment full of individuals that support and care for them. While nurses are often the ones administering care, it is important that they care for each other and build one another up. Being conscious of the emotional states of coworkers allows a leader to uplift and communicate with each individual according to what they personally would respond to best. The ANA article attributes good leaders with being able to relate with each employee in the workplace on a personal level and make them feel like they are each important individuals. By making everybody feel important, leaders enable each worker to feel like they have a purpose- which translates to better work done.


Each day on the job may not particularly be eventful, but an effective leader creates an environment where everybody can draw inspiration from within themselves when things may be moving slowly. Nurses are no stranger to “Nurse Fatigue,” which may make it hard to be inspired or excited about the job. With good leadership, nurses are able to see beyond certain difficulties and push forward to complete their tasks. Before a leader can hope to change the workplace though, they must first be inspired and passionate themselves. Maintaining personal inspiration, wherever that may come from, serves as an example to fellow nurses that it is indeed possible to push through challenges and get work done.

Creating More Leaders

Similar to the ANA article, an article published on speaks about the elements of nurse leadership. One other quality of a true leader is the ability to create other leaders and let everybody around them flourish. The article features nurse leader Jeanine Frumenti, she states that in a healthy leadership culture, “People aren’t micromanaged, but are rallied. In a healthy culture, leaders are confident enough to allow their people to flourish and let them get the credit when things go right.” True leaders are able to put others around them in the position where they feel like they are also leaders. An effective leader does not necessarily need to be present for everybody to be on top of their work. Fostering a creative environment is a big part of leading and being in charge. If fellow nurses understand they they too are necessary components in the workplace, everybody can attack their responsibilities with a similar drive and passion, allowing leadership to flow throughout the work space.