Including Leadership in Daily Activities: Nursing

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Registered nurses, regardless of the position we hold, must lead (Yoder-Wise, 2015). Whether providing direct patient care in the hospital, practicing in out patient settings or in school health programs; we must earn the trust of those we serve. Our vision of achieving optimal health for the population we serve requires incorporating leadership into daily activities.

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“There is a leader inside each and every one of us” (Satusky, 2012, p.2).


An effective leader must be credible. Credibility is not automatic. It is earned over time by showing respect, earning trust, and demonstrating expertise to those being led (Yoder-Wise, 2015). A school nurse must demonstrate respect to all stakeholders. Being respectful of students’ medical concerns and treatment regimes, staffs’ personal medical concerns, and all privacy issues will allow stakeholders the confidence to share information which is needed in order to provide care resulting in optimal outcome. In addition; communicating in a respectful manner illicit open communication and credibility.

Earning school personnel’s’ trust enables a greater level of comfort if designated as medical backup in a situation where the nurse is tied up with another’s urgent medical need. Otherwise school personnel are reluctant to agree to assist as backup if they feel they will be blamed. In addition, demonstrating expertise in knowledge and skill level builds credibility. As the school nurse, responding to students’ medical needs and emergency situations with confidence and skill which is based on prior knowledge and experience will also build credibility.


As a school nurse, we frequently have students with major/chronic health conditions. These students are often medically fragile and their health status can change in an instant. Therefore, being proactive is a daily necessity. For example; physical assessments, patient advocacy, current knowledge base regarding medical conditions and treatments, as well as open communication are a must (Every Nurse Can Be a Leader, 2010). Maintaining awareness of students’ medical status and conducting a physical assessment when indicated is necessary as immediate nursing intervention may be needed. Monitoring and responding to students’ medical needs is a daily exercise in leadership as it involves not only the student and nurse but the entire team which may constitute their teacher, dedicated aid, or other designated emergency responders in the school building.

The Individual Health Plans and Emergency Action Plans developed with the input of their parents and medical providers must remain current and be communicated with their teachers in order for all team members to respond appropriately and immediately if the need arises. The school nurse must stay abreast of current medical information as there are times the prescribed treatment plan from the medical provider is not effective. Open communication with staff members addressing the expectations and responsibility is necessary due to the level of discomfort school personnel sometimes experience which could hinder response time.

Mentoring and Challenging Others

Mentorship applies not only to students and new employees but also to qualified working nurses. It is a relationship established to offer advice and constructive criticism. This allows the mentee to gain confidence and develop professionally both in skill and leadership qualities. The experience acquired in mentorship establishes the correct approach to situations which reduces stress and creates satisfaction leading to employee feeling empowered and needed at their job. This positively affects nursing care and patient outcomes as the organizational culture improves overall health care and the staff is adequately trained.

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Mentorship is a delicate relationship based on communication and trust. People have different values and approaches, so the challenge lies in finding a way to cooperate. Nurse leaders should recognize the challenges faced by the mentee, especially related to their specific roles or social issues such as horizontal violence. Nurse leaders are more perceptive to staff needs and values; therefore, they are on the frontline of a mentorship initiative. The most difficult challenge is to balance support with challenging the mentee to autonomy. If there is over-protection, the mentee does not learn the practical skill, and it encourages dependency. However, certain challenges may push someone out of their comfort zone and lead to fear and lack of confidence (Race & Skees, 2010).

Rewards and Recognition

One of the responsibilities of a nurse leader is to maintain employee engagement and job satisfaction. In nursing, unlike other professions, there are no sale goals or bonuses. A way to indicate to the staff that their job is meaningful or recognize those with excellent performance is through a reward program. Small gestures (such as gifts or cards) with a spot-on or after-shift recognition by personally congratulating or thanking a nurse for their effort helps to create a positive organizational culture (Doucette, 2014). Maintaining communication with all the staff is a way to see where a leader’s support is needed as well as which areas are performing consistently.

Annual events such as nurse week and the DAISY award are chances to thank all the nurses as well as recognize exceptional performances which help build up the quality of healthcare. In the current system of healthcare organizations, nurses are critical in all aspects of their operation, the reason why it is necessary to maintain their support. Recognition is an element of a healthy work environment as identified by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Recognition, both public and private, helps empower employees which reinforces quality behaviors and skills that are valued by both senior management and patients (Lefton, 2012).


Doucette, J. (2014). Leadership Q&A. Nursing Management, 45(2), 56. Web.

Lefton, C. (2012). Strengthening the workforce through meaningful recognition. Nursing Economics, 30(6), 331-338. Web.

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Race, T.K., & Skees, J. (2010). Changing tides: improving outcomes through mentorship on all levels of nursing. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, 33(2), 163-176. Web.

Satusky, M.J. (2012). The nurse leader in you. Orthopaedic Nursing, 31(1), 1-2. Web.

The Sentinel Watch (2010). Every Nurse Can Be a Leader. Web.

Yoder-Wise, P.S. (2015). Leading and Managing in Nursing (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

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NursingBird. (2022) 'Including Leadership in Daily Activities: Nursing'. 11 October.


NursingBird. 2022. "Including Leadership in Daily Activities: Nursing." October 11, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Including Leadership in Daily Activities: Nursing." October 11, 2022.


NursingBird. "Including Leadership in Daily Activities: Nursing." October 11, 2022.