Effective nurse leaders require passion to provide high-quality patient care

nurse with patient

Linda Burnes Bolton, R.N., chief nursing executive and vice president for nursing at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, wanted to become a nurse when she was only seven-years-old. She tells Hospitals & Health Networks that her passion was inspired by the nurses who cared for her when she was hospitalized for severe asthma. 

And it's a passion that has never ebbed.

"Being a nurse leader has enabled me to help others--not only nurses but other members of the health care profession--get on the path toward wholeness," she told the publication. "We’re in this business because we want to remove the barriers and provide education, guidance and support to enable individuals to achieve and sustain health and wellness."

Beth McCraw, CNO at Jennie Stuart Medical Center in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, agrees, and in a second piece for HHN says that she uses her own passion for the job to inspire other nurses. 

"The first Thursday of every month, I introduce myself to a group of new nurses during their orientation by sharing a bit about what drives me to provide great care and asking them to do the same,” says McCraw. “I share that they will take care of my family, friends, and neighbors so it’s important we hire passionate people.”

To keep the passion for nursing and nurse leadership alive in the face of labor shortages and widespread burnout, here are a compilation of tips from HHN and previous FierceHealthcare coverage: 

  • Don't forget the reason for your role. "Nurses are always seeking to find better ways to do things that will enable all members of the team to achieve the care outcomes designed," says Burnes Bolton. So nursing and quality improvement are intricately paired--it’s not a separate thing. Performance improvement, safety and quality--these are the No. 1 job of every member of the health professional team and certainly the No. 1 job of nursing.

  • Lead through collaboration. Nurses enter management roles with plenty of leadership skills, but may never have had to hire or fire anyone before. Much of the day-to-day work of a nurse is compassion based, so disciplining staff may be difficult. Collaborating with other hospital or health system leaders can ease this burden and the transition. Nurses who aspire to leadership roles should seek out a leadership mentor and take the time to learn how to be a leader.

  • Develop a strategy for the process. Determine what tasks are urgent and what are secondary. Nurses often thrive in a detail-oriented environment, so tap into that experience for management. That attention to detail can also be applied to planning and developing strategies to implement new initiatives.

- read the first and second HHN articles