Nurses lead in many ways:

  1. By example: As role models, demonstrating the values and behaviours expected as registered nurses.
  2. Care delivery: Ensuring service users receive high quality, evidence-based, person-centred care.
  3. Teams of people: Planning and coordinating others within the nursing team and alongside the multi-professional team. Ensuring the right care, by the right people with the right skills, to achieve the best outcomes.
  4. Change and practice development: Working across boundaries to promote and enable the highest levels of nursing practice.

As a newly registered nurse (NRN), you are expected to lead by example and to lead care for those in your care. You have demonstrated the knowledge and understanding needed. You have achieved the required skills and proficiencies. Now you are putting these into practice and consolidating what you have learnt.

You will be taking responsibility and accountability for the care provided. During this time, you will develop confidence to ensure care meets patients' needs. Additionally, you will be expected to question and challenge constructively, where needed, to advocate for those in your charge and for your profession, to promote excellence in practice.

To develop as a leader, you will need to engage in activities that support and promote the skills and values of effective leadership. An effective way of doing this is to recognise and embrace the importance of followership.

Followership can be very simply defined as a person who supports and admires a particular person or set of ideas. An alignment of yourself and your values with another person, who can also support our own development. In health, as in other organisations, there is a growing recognition of the importance of followership in contributing to the goals and outcomes of the organisation at all levels.

As an NRN, you have the opportunity not only to be a responsible and engaged follower within your work environment, but to learn and develop the skills and attributes of leadership that you will need as you progress in your career.

You should:

  • Identify role models in your team leaders and reflect on how their skills, knowledge, approaches, responses to situations all combine to create positive team engagement and good outcomes for patients.
  • Access learning opportunities that focus on teamwork and reflect on how you can utilise the knowledge and skills from the learning activity.
  • Engage in reviewing activities that monitor and evaluate care; handover, audits, reviewing standards and practices.

To plan you career have a look at the RCN careers resources.

6 top tips for managing and leading yourself

Document1. Do what fulfils you.

2. Build your networks - within your work area and externally, for example RCN forums.

3. Invest in yourself.

4. Face your fears.

5. Try something new.

6. Be kind and generous.