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Leading Caring Nurses with Powerful Influence

A lot has changed in the past 5 years. Pumpkin Spice Lattes have become a staple of autumn, Siri has become the friend we talk to most, IVs and other instruments have become computerized, and the requirements of nursing have increased dramatically—requiring your nurses to be equipped with higher levels of responsibility, accountability, and knowledge.

Where a culture of accountability exists, people do what they say they’ll do. Everyone builds credibility for himself or herself and for the organization by holding themselves and each other accountable.

It’s important for nurse leaders to establish an environment of learning and betterment. Your unit can foster this culture by focusing on 3 key areas of growth:

Provide Direction

As the saying goes, “Nurses are born, not made.” A true statement in the sense that nurses must have the capacity to care, but significant research supports the idea that individuals can always be directed, managed and taught to care more effectively. If the goal is for nurses to provide better care, we need to invest time into giving proper direction, while continuing to educate ourselves with strategies that accomplish this goal.

Build Culture

To build a great culture, it’s essential for nurse leaders to set an example by modeling what a strong nurse looks like. Leaders need to manifest a philosophy of clinical care emphasizing quality, safety, interdisciplinary collaboration, continuity of care, and professional accountability.

Great leaders also listen, retain, and act according to their nursing staff’s feedback. They provide meaningful input into policy development and operational management issues related to clinical quality, safety, and clinical outcome evaluation. Emphasize that nurses are responsible and accountable for their own practices.

Establish Clarity

To establish accountability within a healthcare facility, clear and specific expectations and goals must be set. If implementing a new strategy, make what needs to be done and accomplished very clear. Describe and follow through with consequences. Like we learned in psych 101, if the reasoning behind goals are explained, nurses are more likely to commit to meeting the expectations. In the end, providing direction, building culture and clarifying expectations assists nurses in providing high-quality care. Although their schedules are hectic, effective leadership and training holds great value to nurse accountability.


Research for this article was provided by American Nurse Today, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.