Evidence-Based Leadership Trends Show How Every Nurse Is a Leader

May 10, 2021

I believe that every nurse is a leader, and we need leaders in all areas of our profession, from academia and research to clinical practice. Nurses must lead from the future and reinvent themselves to achieve their desired career path. Practice in the now, but lead from anticipation of what will happen based on healthcare trends.

Mary Magee Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN®, LSSYB, FAAN
Mary Magee Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN®, LSSYB, FAAN, is the corporate director of nursing research and evidence-based practice for Emory Healthcare and adjunct faculty at Emory University’s school of nursing in Atlanta, GA.

A dedication to that concept led me to write two books on nursing leadership: 21st Century Nursing Leadership, which earned second place as the American Journal of Nursing’s (AJN’s) 2018 Book of the Year, and Nursing Management Principles and Practices, AJN’s 2005 Book of the Year. Although we don’t have a robust body of literature related to oncology nurse research or developing oncology nurse leaders, in researching for my books, I found two evidence-based leadership trends.

Mentorship is key. A research mentor is the most important facilitator for successful nursing research programs. Even virtual mentorship is proven to increase novice nurse engagement in research.

Leadership takes chutzpah, which is a Yiddish slang term meaning shameless audacity. Chutzpah is the courage to take on situations that others avoid. According to the adage, leaders are born, not made, but I believe that successful leaders can be either: they just need to grow their courage. Novice nurse leaders are most concerned about making a mistake, managing and prioritizing competing demands, and handling peer-to-peer conflicts. Hone your skills and achieve your best because we all are capable of overcoming those worries.

One way to support emerging nurse leaders is through new graduate nurse transition programs. Programs that are at least 24 weeks long and use the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN’s) nurse residency curriculum have the greatest impact. Emory Healthcare uses the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program to teach effective decision-making skills and develop clinical nursing leadership.

My institution’s “One Emory Nursing” initiative, which spans from bench to bedside and back again, is guided by the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report and AACN’s Advancing Healthcare Transformation Manatt report, which outlined how to maximize nursing’s contribution to healthcare reform through academic and clinical practice partnership. One Emory Nursing transforms care by partnering clinical nurses engaged in leading research with Emory University school of nursing faculty.

Believe in yourself and your potential. Nurses can complete a self-assessment of their leadership using the Zero-to-Three or Your Leadership Legacy tools.

Future leaders, I implore you to find opportunities learn, read, and grow. And do not be afraid to take a risk. I know there is a leader in each of you just waiting to be unleashed. You need to see it to be it.


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