While nurse leaders are humbled and utterly thankful for the “hero” recognition they’ve received amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they resoundingly would instead prefer to be viewed as “clinical experts” and “essential patient advocates,” according to an Inspire Nurse Leaders survey of 226 nurse leaders released in October.

The study aimed to understand nurse leaders’ feelings, experiences and insights related to the pandemic. Overwhelmingly, nurses said they need additional leadership training to better respond to the demands of the coronavirus, and they want a stronger voice in making decisions that affect patient care.

The survey did not ask respondents to include information about their specialty. But often, long-term care nurse leaders have fewer resources than their hospital colleagues,  including staffing and leadership development, said Lori Armstrong, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, chief executive officer and chief clinical officer at Inspire Nurse Leaders.

“Nurses have entered the pandemic with already alarming rates of burnout and work-related stress,” she told McKnight’s.  

To better support nurses’ role as clinical experts, Armstrong recommends that long-term care facility operators check in on the mental health and well-being of their nurse leaders — and all of their caregivers.