Nurse leaders are an essential part of the healthcare system, with various different methods used to motivate their team and ensure that the standards of patient care provided are high-quality. Many of the qualities needed for a career in nursing are also necessary for a career in nurse leadership. Along with being caring, compassionate, and patient, nurse leaders also need to be able to demonstrate strong leadership skills that inspire and influence their teams. 

Being equipped with strong leadership qualities enables good nurse leaders to respond to the range of future challenges and opportunities that they might face, and the right skills and knowledge allow any nurse to take their career to the next level. Whether you’re just starting out as a nurse leader or aspire to work in this career in the future, here are some of the key qualities needed to help you get the most from your work. 

Excellent Decision-Making Skills

Good decision-making skills are crucial for a leader or manager in any setting, but they’re particularly important when it comes to healthcare – a setting where decisions often carry a lot of weight and can even be the difference between life or death for a patient. Nurse leaders should be able to make educated healthcare decisions based on science and research since these are the most likely to achieve the desired results; however, since healthcare is such a complex environment, many decisions can be harder to judge. A good nurse leader should be somebody who is able to think quickly on their feet and make quick decisions with the best interest of the patient in mind. 

Technology Skills

As healthcare becomes increasingly supported by technology, it has never been more important for good nurse leaders to have a strong working knowledge of technology. Today, it’s impossible to work in the healthcare industry without using different technologies at some point, and with new technological advancements occurring on a constant basis, healthcare leaders need to be able to keep up with the changes and recent trends to ensure that they and their teams are utilizing healthcare technology to the maximum. 

A Global Mindset

Nurse leadership is a profession that requires working within and with communities, and as a result, nurse leaders should embrace diversity and be keenly aware of cultural differences within society. Having this global mindset enables nurse leaders to respond more effectively to various worldwide trends in healthcare, making it possible for them to adapt their work to national, regional, and local needs. Studying an online DNP executive leadership program enables nurses to improve their knowledge and grasp of global issues in healthcare, and by working together to share strategies, technologies, and successes across the world, healthcare professionals become better able to address global issues. 

Ability to Deal with Change

Nursing is certainly not a career where every day is the same, and in order to be effective at what they do, a good nurse leader should be somebody who is not only able to cope with change effectively, but also welcomes it. Today’s healthcare system is defined by rapid changes, and nurse leaders need to be open-minded about what might be to come, and able to welcome changes and integrate them into the work that they and their teams do. Today’s healthcare organizations face a number of regular changes in the form of quality improvement, organizational restructuring, employee retention, and more, which can be stressful for nurse leaders who are not ready to keep up. The best nurse leaders embrace change and view it as a positive way to improve patient care. 

Collaboration and Team Building Skills

Nurse leaders understand that good leadership is focused heavily on creating and encouraging strong working relationships within any team. The best nurse leaders are able to identify a common purpose, vision, and goal among their colleagues and encourage everybody to work together collaboratively and cooperate to ensure that these goals are met. Nurse leaders need to be focused on promoting collaboration across the board by setting a shining example as a good role model in nursing. Providing mentorship, clear communication with colleagues, and good conflict management and resolution helps nurse leaders create a sense of community and build a strong, effective team. 

Prioritizing Safety and Quality

Often, it’s the responsibility of the nurse leader to ensure the quality of patient care and ensure that all work is carried out in a safe and effective manner. Many studies have suggested that errors often let the current healthcare system down, and there is a vital need for more focus on the safety of both employees and patients. A blame culture, poor communication, and a lack of healthcare resources have all been stated as contributors to this situation, leading to a future where nurse leaders will need to adopt more innovative and creative approaches to ensure safety and quality are integrated into the daily process of every employee. 


A good nurse leader is somebody who holds true to themselves and their values. In order for an organization to succeed, the leader should be authentic and honest. And in today’s healthcare system with an increased focus on meeting budgets and hitting targets, nurse leaders are facing more moral and ethical dilemmas than ever before. A good nurse leader should be able to balance meeting the priorities and expectations of stakeholders while staying true to their authentic self and putting their patients first. 


Finally, one of the main qualities that every good nurse leader possesses is humility. The best nurse leaders know that they can learn a lot from their team, just as much as their teams can learn from them. They are committed to improving their knowledge and supporting others to become better at what they do. As a mentor, a good nurse leader doesn’t take over, but rather takes on a supporting role in which the mentee is able to develop their skills and knowledge knowing that help and advice is available as and when they need it. 

Today, strong nurse leaders are more essential than ever to lead and improve the healthcare system.