As a new nurse leader, what can I do to support my facility’s nurses? I don’t have a budget for this.

I totally get what you are asking, and it is a proven fact that nurses who feel supported have less turnover, and less turnover produces a higher quality of care for the residents under our care.

Start out by never promising anything you cannot fulfill. The easiest way to have your staff lose faith and trust is to promise them the moon and never produce. Believe me, they remember everything. 

Therefore, deliver on your promises. If you said to them you will be in early to assist with a special project, show up early and be ready to work. If you show up late, or not ready to work, you will have lost that portion of your team’s enthusiasm immediately.

Nurses cope with all levels of stress and people ordering them to do certain things. Help them build support among the team’s various players. If you know one nurse is great at organizing and you have a new nurse struggling, put them on a team together to accomplish a goal. This is one way they will learn from one another.

You need to listen to the feedback from your team. It may not always be good feedback in your eyes, but having them communicate with you, period, is a GOOD THING. Never act discouraged if they are telling you something you may not agree with. They are communicating, and as long as you keep communications open, you can handle most anything.

The best advice may be to follow the Golden Rule with your team. Do unto others as you would like done unto you. This is a common way to show respect and compassion, and earn the trust of people who report to you.

When you’ve done all of the above, remember there’s something else you can do that will always help: smile!

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at