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Posted: February 4th, 2024

How is Nursing Leadership Different from Other Forms of Leadership?

How is Nursing Leadership Different from Other Forms of Leadership?

Nursing leadership is a vital component of health care delivery, as it influences the quality of care, patient outcomes, staff satisfaction and organizational performance. Nursing leaders are not only those who occupy formal positions of authority, but also those who demonstrate leadership skills and behaviors at any level of the nursing profession. In this blog post, we will explore how nursing leadership differs from other forms of leadership, and what strategies can help nurses develop and enhance their leadership potential.

What is Nursing Leadership?

As Bell defines it, nursing leadership is “the ability to inspire, influence and motivate nursing staff and other health care workers to work together to achieve their highest potential and collective organizational goals.” Nursing leadership focuses on providing patients, care teams and other health care professionals with caring, compassionate support and guidance and enabling them to find maximum success in their roles. Nursing leaders can be found at all levels in nursing and midwifery, from directors to middle managers, from first-line supervisors to front-line staff.

How is Nursing Leadership Different from Other Forms of Leadership?

Nursing leadership differs from other forms of leadership in several ways, such as:

– Nursing leadership is grounded in the values and principles of nursing practice, such as respect, dignity, autonomy, advocacy, empathy and evidence-based practice. Nursing leaders uphold these values and principles in their interactions with patients, colleagues and other stakeholders, and promote a culture of ethical decision-making and accountability.
– Nursing leadership is responsive to the complex and dynamic nature of health care delivery, which requires constant adaptation, innovation and collaboration. Nursing leaders are able to cope with uncertainty, ambiguity and change, and foster a learning environment that encourages creativity, problem-solving and continuous improvement.
– Nursing leadership is patient-centered and outcome-oriented, meaning that nursing leaders always prioritize the needs and preferences of patients and their families, and measure their success by the impact they have on patient outcomes, such as safety, quality, satisfaction and health status.
– Nursing leadership is relational and collaborative, meaning that nursing leaders recognize the interdependence of all health care workers and the importance of teamwork. Nursing leaders build trusting relationships with their staff and other professionals, and leverage their diverse skills, knowledge and perspectives to achieve shared goals.

What Strategies Can Help Nurses Develop and Enhance Their Leadership Skills?

Nursing leadership skills can be developed and enhanced through various strategies, such as:

– Seeking feedback from peers, mentors, managers and patients on one’s strengths and areas for improvement as a leader. Feedback can help nurses identify their leadership style, values, goals and challenges, and plan for their professional development.
– Engaging in self-reflection and self-care activities that can help nurses maintain their physical, mental and emotional well-being, as well as their passion and motivation for nursing. Self-reflection can help nurses assess their performance, learn from their experiences, recognize their achievements and identify their areas of growth.
– Pursuing formal education or training opportunities that can help nurses acquire new knowledge or skills related to leadership theory or practice. For example, nurses can enroll in degree programs or courses that focus on topics such as communication, conflict resolution, change management or quality improvement.
– Participating in informal learning or networking opportunities that can help nurses expand their horizons or perspectives on leadership issues or trends. For example, nurses can join professional associations or forums that offer access to resources or events related to nursing leadership.
– Taking on new roles or responsibilities that can help nurses challenge themselves or demonstrate their leadership potential. For example, nurses can volunteer for projects or committees that require them to lead or collaborate with others on a common purpose or goal.


Nursing leadership is a unique form of leadership that reflects the values and principles of nursing practice, responds to the complex and dynamic nature of health care delivery, focuses on patient-centered outcomes and fosters relational collaboration. Nursing leaders can be found at all levels in nursing and midwifery. Nurses can develop
and enhance their leadership skills through various strategies such as seeking feedback,
engaging in self-reflection,
pursuing formal education,
participating in informal learning
and taking on new roles.


: Good leadership means better care – The Nursing and Midwifery Council. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3rd 2023 from https://www.nmc.org.uk/standards/guidance/good-leadership-means-better-care/
: RCN Careers Resources: Leadership skills – Royal College of Nursing. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3rd 2023 from https://www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/your-career/nurse/leadership-skills
: What is Nurse Leadership? | SNHU. (2021, July 13). Retrieved February 3rd 2023 from https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-nurse-leadership
: What Is Nursing Leadership? Definition and Strategies – Indeed. (2023, February 3). Retrieved February 3rd 2023 from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/nursing-leadership


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