Anita Burton, RN, BSN
Florida Atlantic University
Introduction to the Emerging Nurse Leader
Susan Dyess, PhD, RN
February 22, 2013
Skills of the Twenty First Century Nursing Leader
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams Why begin a paper concerning nursing leadership with a presidential quote rather than one from Florence Nightingale? Because working as a nurse today requires the skill and diplomacy of running a country! Bedside clinical nurse responsibilities are chaotic, complicated and dynamic. The bedside nurse is expected to display expert clinical and technological skills with a convivial attitude. The leader of a group with these high expectations and demands must be prepared for the challenge. Three of the skills necessary to be a success in this challenge are expertise, flexibility, authenticity, and self-awareness. Expertise in the area in which a leader leads is vital. Does this mean an intensive care unit director, must be an expert in all critical care skills? I do not believe that it does. But, it does mean that they should be able to function in some capacity, not forgetting their background as a bedside clinician. The team of nurses should consider their leader an integral part of their team. While conducting research for this paper, I read about several nurses who are currently in leadership roles. One of these nurses, John Gilligan, began his nursing career later in life, first as a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA), then a Licensed Practical Nurse and currently as a Registered Nurse. He is Board Certified in geriatrics and is the clinical nurse manager of a 60-bed memory impairment unit in Southampton, Pennsylvania. In September 2012, John was awarded the Joan Ann McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-term Care Nursing. “To this day, Gilligan makes sure that he carries his weight on...