Ask the nursing expert: defining your role as a nurse leader

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
I recently attended an inspirational and motivational conference. What I took away was the need for strong nursing leadership skills, combined with the abilities to find balance and be a good role model for my staff. Now that I have had this revelation, where do I start?

Isn't it just like a nurse to want to be everything to everybody?! We can't give away or role-model what we don't have, so you could start with clearly defining what your role as a nurse leader is.

Write down all of the nurse manager responsibilities you think are yours. It will undoubtedly look overwhelming at first. Put your list away for a week or so and then revisit and streamline it. I would then share your list of responsibilities with your supervisor and ask if it is accurate.

With the realization of all the tasks you are responsible for, ask yourself, “How will I find balance between my personal life and my career?” Speak with your mentors about how they find balance and then create your own program for balance. Your work-life program inevitably will need to be updated from time to time as both your life and career change.

Without balance, you will not be healthy or able to be the kind of role model you want to be. You will find out early in your nursing leadership venture that you cannot be a perfect employee, perfect mom, perfect leader, perfect wife and perfect friend to all. Remember: Balance is the key.