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Business Skills That You Need to Work as a Nurse Leader

by Olufisayo
Nurse Leader

Today, nurse leaders are an essential, important part of the modern healthcare system. Nurse leaders and managers are responsible for managing patient care and ensuring that other healthcare professionals are provided with the support that they need. Along with being experienced in all aspects of nursing, nurse leaders also need to be experts when it comes to working with and managing people. They are often responsible for leading teams of other nurses and healthcare professionals.

Nurse management and leadership are just some of the several advanced career opportunities that are available for nurses who want to progress in their career and is an ideal choice for people who like the idea of a role where they can help others, but also want to get into management. To be successful in this role, nurse managers and leaders not only need to have great nursing skills, but also business and leadership qualities.

Communication Skills

Good communication is a vital skill for both nurses and business professionals. Improving communication skills is something that all nurses need to do from the moment that they begin nursing school and working as a registered nurse gives you the opportunity to practice and fine-tune your communication skills in various different ways in order to prepare you for a future role as a nurse leader.

In this role, you will need to have a strong ability to communicate clearly to others, along with good active listening skills. When working as a nurse leader, communication skills are skills that you are going to use every single day, whether you are communicating with patients, delegating tasks to other healthcare professionals, coordinating teams, and providing your team with the information that they need to perform tasks and deliver patient care effectively.

Along with this, nurse leaders are often strong advocates for patients and have an impact on healthcare policy, which requires excellent communication skills when working with policymakers and communicating facts, statistics, and ideas that will influence positive policy changes. Communication skills are something that you can develop on the job as a nurse, along with lots of options to get even better at communicating when studying for an advanced nursing degree at Marymount University Online.

People Skills

Nurse leaders are an important part of running effective teams of healthcare professionals. Most nurse leaders are individuals who have had a lot of experience working as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner themselves, and therefore they are better able to relate to the people that they are now in charge of supervising in the workplace. Nurse leaders need to have excellent people skills in order to succeed in this role. The best nurse leaders are approachable, trustworthy, and have the ability to inspire others to work to the best of their ability.

Working Under Pressure

Another key business skill that is also important in the role of a nurse leader is a strong ability to work well under pressure and remain calm and level-headed even in a stressful situation. In many cases, this might be an even more important skill for nurse leaders compared to a business leader, since patients’ health and lives will sometimes hang in the balance when it comes to making quick decisions under stress.

The role of a nurse leader can often be very high-pressure, and it’s not uncommon for these professionals to deal with life-or-death situations that you simply would not get outside of the healthcare environment. To succeed in the role, nurse leaders need to have a very strong ability to think on their feet and remain calm even when most other people would panic. They need to make quick decisions under pressure in the best interests of their patients each time. They also need to be able to quickly adapt to changing situations and always be ready for the unexpected to happen.

Mentoring and Coaching

Nurse leaders are not only responsible for managing teams and overseeing patient care. A key part of this role also involves the coaching and mentoring of student nurses and trainees who have recently graduated. Nurse leaders need to have strong mentoring skills in order to take people who are new to the career under their wing and provide the support that is needed for them to get started successfully in the profession.

This could involve working with nursing students who are getting clinical experience under the supervision of the nurse leader and other nursing professionals or offering support and advice to new hires who have recently graduated and gained their license to work as a registered nurse. The best nurse leaders are effective mentors who don’t interfere or become overbearing but make it clear that they are approachable at all times to offer help and support when needed.


Empathy is a quality that can benefit anybody in any role. More recently, it has become clear that business leaders who are compassionate and empathetic towards the people that they work with tend to get better results compared to those who are not. And in the role of a nurse leader, empathy is one of the most important qualities to possess. Nurses are taught about the importance of empathy when working with patients from day one at nursing school, but the truth is that having empathy for others can help you in almost any situation.

As a nurse leader, you don’t just need empathy when working directly with patients, but also when you’re in situations with other healthcare professionals who may come to the nurse leader with problems that they are having or for help and advice with something that they are struggling with. Treating everybody with empathy and compassion will help build stronger team relationships and improve workplace morale, which is hugely important in any patient care setting.

Decision Making

Decision making skills are one of the most important in business and the same goes for nurse leadership. Nurse leaders are responsible for making a huge number of important decisions, often ones that have a direct impact on the lives of the patients whose care they oversee. Compared to business leaders, nurse leaders will often also have to make much faster decisions and with less information in order to ensure that the patient gets the care that they are entitled to at the best possible time.

Nurse leaders will often have a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders when it comes to making decisions that are going to have an impact in many different ways, so it’s important for these professionals to develop excellent decision-making skills and the ability to carefully think through any weighted decisions while using education, advice, and research to come to a conclusion regarding what to do.

Commitment to Learning

Just like business leaders need to be ready to never stop learning something new, nurse leaders also need to be ready for a lifelong commitment to learning in this role. A good nurse leader is somebody who is excited to learn new things and improve their knowledge. Working in healthcare in any role can be very dynamic as things are changing all the time with the discovery of new treatments, new information that healthcare professionals did not have previously, new policies and guidelines, and even new diseases like COVID-19.

Why Are Nurses Needed in Leadership?

There is currently a growing demand for nurses around the world, at all levels. Registered nurses are not the only type of nurse in demand as the need for good nurses in management and leadership positions continues to grow. Nurse leaders are required to work in various positions of authority to provide the healthcare industry with patient-centered, compassionate, inspiring, and holistic leadership that makes a difference.

Nurse leaders and managers are having an increasing impact on healthcare policy around the world today, and qualified and experienced nurses in these upper-management positions are having a positive impact on patient care and outcomes. Some of the main reasons why more nurses in leadership positions are needed include:

Break Down Societal Barriers

While nursing is a professional career path that often requires a degree qualification and extensive training to become an expert in the field, society still often views nursing as a blue-collar profession. More nurses in leadership will help to break down these societal barriers and provide more education to the general public about the different educational levels that are available in nursing and just how high up the career ladder registered nurses can climb if they have the drive and the dedication to do so. Nurses play a key role in society today but sadly there is some way to go before they are seen by society in general as key decision-makers and leaders in healthcare.

High Demand for Nurse Leaders

There is a growing demand for nurses at every level of the career, which is providing just another reason for nurses to consider climbing the career ladder and getting into a management position. In the US right now, there is a shortage of nurses in every specialty and at every level. Advanced nurses who are qualified to work in leadership positions such as family nurse practitioners are also enjoying heightened demand right now due to a shortage of primary care physicians, as medical students are less likely to choose to specialize in primary care. This has only boosted the drive for more nurses in leadership positions as advanced practice registered nurses step forward to close the gap in patient care that this could cause.

Nurses Make Excellent Leaders

Nurses tend to be a great fit for any management or leadership role. This is because during their time working as a registered nurse, they have had to develop a range of important skills that translate well into these positions. Many of the main skills that nurses fine-tune while caring for patients such as communication skills, compassion and empathy, good decision-making skills, and the ability to perform well under pressure are all transferable skills that have a significant place in a nurse leadership role. Nurses tend to be excellent problem-solvers, and many take a holistic approach and can see the bigger picture in every situation, which makes them great leaders. They are highly experienced when it comes to collaboration and teamwork and often have excellent people skills.

Improve Patient Care

With an increasing number of nurses deciding to get into leadership and management positions due to the shortage of primary care physicians and the growing number of options available for nursing career progression, it’s becoming clearer to see that nurses tend to have the most positive impact on patient care when they are given this extra level of responsibility and autonomy.

Nurses as professionals tend to be very patient-centered in their work and take a holistic approach to patient care, which can make a huge difference to patient outcomes when applied at this upper-management level. Putting nurses in charge of more healthcare settings has led to various positive outcomes for patients including fewer hospital readmissions, fewer fatalities, and more patient satisfaction.

Career Progression for Nurses

Finally, more nursing leadership roles are becoming available to encourage people to get into nursing and enjoy the benefits of this career. With the shortage of nurses in the US only becoming more apparent and serious over the past few years with the healthcare industry hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic, investments are being made to encourage more people to choose a career in nursing. Along with investing in more advanced practice and leadership roles for ambitious individuals who are interested in making a lucrative career out of nursing, these investments have also included funding for more nurse educators, flexible and affordable nursing degree programs, and much more.

While running a business and working as a nurse might not be two roles that you would put together, the necessary skills for business leadership and nurse leadership overlap more than you might expect. Nurses in leadership can apply a range of important business skills including communication skills, decision-making skills, and people skills to get better results and have a positive impact on patient care.

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