4 Elements Leaders Want in a Resilient Nurse4 Elements Leaders Want in a Resilient Nurse

Healthcare organizations are challenged with recruiting and retaining nurses. Because of today’s ever-changing healthcare environment and the fast, intense pace of patient care- nursing leadership is focused on strategies that will impact the nursing staff.

In fact, to ask a nurse leader:

“What keeps you up at night?”

Elicits a response like the following:

“How will I keep my organization fully staffed? What makes a nurse want to stay? What can I do to retain nurses at this institution?”

Nurses Need to Be Resilient

Being a nurse in today’s healthcare settings is hard work. It is physically exhausting, emotionally draining, and energetically depleting.

A nurse can experience any or all of the following in a short period of time:

  • Being hit by a patient
  • Getting yelled at by a physician
  • Experiencing bullying from colleagues
  • Unsuccessfully running a code on a child, only to watch them die
  • Seeing the same drug addicted patient come in over and over again, just not being able to stay in long term treatment
  • Having aftercare services shut down by budget cuts and not knowing where to send patients to after discharge

The list could go on and on.

So much so that we realize…

It takes thick skin to be a #nurse! Click To Tweet

That is why as nurses we need resilience skills. We need to be able to cope with stress, bounce back after trauma, and handle uncomfortable situations in the moment.

Here are 4 Elements Leaders Want in a Resilient Nurse

4 Elements Leaders Want in a Resilient Nurse1. They want someone who shows up. 

Day after day, week after week, year after year. A nurse who does not call out. They need a nurse who is going to be present and fully engaged at work.

Now this sounds like a tall order, right? And I imagine you are thinking to yourself, but what about my sick days? If I am not feeling well, are you saying that my nursing leadership wants me to show up then too?

No way!

The point here is that the nurse leader wants you to take care of yourself. To practice self-care, work life balance, and the healthy habits outside of work so that you CAN show up to your scheduled shifts ready to go.

I realize this is difficult. That when you get home from your work day the last thing you feel like doing is choosing a healthy meal or practicing some type of self-care activity.

But guess what? It works!

By engaging in healthy activities that promote self-care outside of work… you will be much more likely to report to work in a healthy mindset and happy mood. Try it.

Just once this week, do something healthy for yourself.

2. Nursing leadership wants nurses who are on point.

Sharp. Focused. Dare I say, present?

Now it may seem obvious, but I will tell you why… They do not want or need their nursing staff making lots of mistakes. No way!

So how can a nurse make sure that they are able to concentrate during the work day? By engaging in a routine presence practice outside of work.

I talk about this a lot in my books and presentations. That we need to practice mindfulness outside of the chaotic, busy, workplace in order to be able to focus when we are on the job.

And before you start to object, telling me that you do not have time to practice… I am going to share a video here with you. One that goes through a brief mindfulness practice in order to show you that it does not have to take a lot of time.

3. The nurse leader wants a team player.

Nursing is a team sport. Even those of us who have the most autonomous and independent nursing roles possible, need to work with other people to get the job done.

A nurse leader does not need another person in his or her office being counseled because of bad behavior. Nursing leadership is not into negative attitudes or nasty employees. Gosh! Even thinking about these people makes the leadership cringe.

As a nurse, you can show up in a resilient way by getting along with your coworkers and professional colleagues.

And how does a resilient nurse do this in a novel way?

By using emotional intelligence. Knowing your own unique skills. How you prefer to learn and communicate. The types of ways you dialogue with other people.

AND- at the same time… realizing that not everyone is going to have the same strengths or the same methods of learning and communication.

A resilient nurse takes the time to get to know his or her colleagues styles and patterns. Then they are honest and upfront with how they show up while taking into account those that they work with. The nurse who is resilient talks with others about these concepts and communicates at a very high level.

4. They want nurses who take action.

A nurse leader is just like a clinical or bedside nurse in one very simple way…

They have a TON on their plate!

Just like a bedside nurse who has a bazillion things to do in a shift, nursing leadership runs from one meeting to the next and then still has to somehow get to their work in between.

Nurse leaders would love a bunch of nurses on their staff who are proactive. Who ask questions. Who don’t just complain about what’s wrong, but seek out solutions for making things right.

Resilient nurses, who are flexible and hardworking, ask these curious questions. They come at challenges with a beginner’s mind. They use inquiry and program management to seek answers. The nurse who is resilient takes charge of an issue and works hard to make it better.

What other things are nurse leaders looking for? How does a nurse leader know that he or she has found a resilient nurse? Share a comment below and thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.

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