Just like every other industry, nursing requires good leaders. Leadership skills can help you to proactively improve the quality of patient care, manage other nurses in your hospital, advocate for your profession, and navigate the many changes it experiences.

So, how do you go about developing these vital abilities? Here are four effective methods to get you started.

1. Go Back to College

One of the most structured and respected methods of improving your leadership skills as a nurse is to go back to college and study for a graduate degree in nursing. There’s an amazing variety of options out there to choose from, including courses that specifically focus on nurse leadership or train you for advanced roles such as a family nurse practitioner. By completing a graduate degree, you’ll boost your nursing knowledge and clinical skills, as well as your more general leadership abilities. If you’re unable to attend classes on campus because of your current job, don’t worry. You can enroll on one of the TWU online nursing programs and complete your coursework from the comfort of your own home.

2. Find a Mentor

Fostering a relationship with a mentor is another fantastic option for leveling up your nursing leadership skills. Seek out an experienced nurse leader who holds the sort of position that you’re hoping to be in yourself one day and reach out to them via email or social media. Send a polite message with your elevator pitch about what you’re hoping to get from the mentorship, and what you may be able to bring to the arrangement in return. Hopefully, you’ll soon be meeting them for coffee and a chat or having a video call. Use this as a chance to get some insider advice on landing your ideal role and handling the challenges of leadership.

3. Seek Out Relevant Experience

When it comes to building up your leadership skills and applying for nurse leader jobs, it’s helpful to have a solid foundation of real-world experience. Proactivity is key here. Make sure that you always participate thoughtfully in meetings and initiatives in your current workplace, and volunteer to take on some extra responsibilities in areas that will help you to level up relevant abilities. It’s also useful to ask for feedback whenever it’s appropriate, to enable you to identify the specific leadership skills that you need to work on. An outside perspective usually gives you the clarity you require.

4. Attend Industry Events

Networking and continued professional development are crucial if you want to succeed as a nurse leader and attending industry events can help you with both. By participating in relevant workshops and conferences, you’ll have the perfect chance to broaden your professional network, learn from people at the top of their field, and stay up to date with new technologies, techniques, and theories. You never know what connection or piece of information might come in handy at a later date, so try to strike up conversations with as many different people as you can. Don’t worry if you find this intimidating – start with small goals like ‘go to one nursing event and talk to one new person’, and then work your way up as you get more confident.