The role of the nurse leader

The role of the nurse leader

The role of the nurse leader. Why are nurse leaders important? How do they use their skills to bring change to healthcare? The answer to the two questions demonstrates the role of nurse leaders. Nurses not only perform tasks and make decisions that affect patients’ health and saves life but are also involved in other opportunities such as hiring, advocating for policies, and influencing operations in a healthcare facility. Thus, leadership in the nursing field is significant for the overall success of a healthcare facility.

Nurse leaders influence others by offering insight and through effective communication. They create a vision and inspire subordinates to follow suit. Notably, the term nurse managers and leaders is not used interchangeably since leaders are not always high in the hierarchy and may lack recognized authority. For instance, a staff nurse who takes the role of inspiring others qualifies as a nurse leader but not a nurse manager.

So, what exactly is the role of a nurse leader? Read on to see some of the crucial responsibilities of a nurse leader which improve patient health outcomes.


What are the roles of nursing leaders in this community development?


Advocating for the nursing profession

The term advocacy is used to refer to the process of supporting a proposal or a cause. Nurse leaders carry out the role by supporting and communicating the interest of other nurses. Their efforts solve professional issues in the field and enhance collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Nursing advocacy is recognized as an important position by the American Nurses Association. Additionally, The Online Journal of Issues in a Nursing highlight that nurse leaders forcing on advocacy is responsible for creating a positive work environment by ensuring nurses have the necessary resources to carry out their duties.

Improving quality patient care in a health care facility

Enhancing quality patient care is a key role carried out by nurse leaders. A healthcare facility is characterized by a dynamic organizational system and nurses are forced to juggle in an ever-changing environment. Although leadership is taught in nursing school, the complexities of the field are not adequately addressed. A research shows that most organizations are forced to train nurses who portray leadership qualities to become leaders and guide others in enhancing safety and improving the overall quality of care. This role is achieved by sharing the vision of the facility, partnering with other professionals, and emphasizing carrying out patient-centred duties.

Administrative leadership role

Nurse leaders also play a role in executive and administrative positions. The leadership role entails making hiring or firing decisions, determining quality-of-care standards through evaluation, and setting organizational goals. They may be required to organize staff training sessions in an effort to foster career development. Moreover, they ensure nurses follow organization protocols and conduct an evaluation to maintain safety and enhance the quality of care.

Other key responsibilities include;

  • Establishing an innovative workflow
  • Mentoring other nurses
  • Thinking critically and creatively when an organization is faced with an ethical dilemma
  • Solving conflict among nurses
  • Approving insurance and overseeing reimbursements


Nurse leader competencies



The various roles of nurse leaders require a broad range of skills. This allows them to carry out a broad range of activities and enables them to be role models in their healthcare facility. The leadership position mainly requires interpersonal and effective communication skills.

Communication skills

To empower other staff to improve the quality of care, nurse leaders need to communicate effectively. They pass messages regarding organizational policies and goals, care practice, and other issues facing the department. Effective communication also empowers them when collaborating with doctors among other health professionals.

Interpersonal skills

Nurse leaders need to gain the trust of their followers and establish collaborative relationships. Thus, they are required to show empathy, engage in active listening, offer constructive criticism, and show commitment to their duties.


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