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Leadership Are You Ready to Be a Leader? You may be thinking, “I’m just beginning my career in nursing.

How can I be expected to be a leader now?”This is an important question. You will need time to refine
your clinical skills and learn how to function in a new environment. But you can begin to assume some
leadership right away within your new nursing roles. Consider the following example: Billie Blair Thomas
was a new staff nurse at Green Valley Nursing Care Center. After orientation, she was assigned to a
rehabilitation unit with high admission and discharge rates. Billie noticed that admissions and discharges
were assigned rather haphazardly. Anyone who was “free” at the moment was directed to handle them.
Sometimes, unlicensed assistant personnel were directed to admit or discharge residents. Billie believed
that using them was inappropriate because their assessment skills were limited and they had no training
in discharge planning. Billie thought there was a better way to do this but was not sure that she should
say so because she was so new. “Maybe they’ve already thought of this,” she said to a former classmate.
“It’s such an obvious solution.” They began to talk about what they had learned in their leadership
course before graduation. “I just keep hearing our instructor saying, ‘There’s only one manager, but
anyone can be a leader of our group.” “If you want to be a leader, you have to act on your idea,” her
friend said. “Maybe I will,” Billie replied. Billie decided to speak with her nurse manager, an experienced
rehabilitation nurse who seemed not only approachable but also open to new ideas. “I have been so
busy getting our new record system on line before the surveyors come that I wasn’t paying attention to
that,” the nurse manager told her. “I’m so glad you brought it to my attention.” Billie’s nurse manager
raised the issue at the next executive meeting, giving credit to Billie for having brought it to her
attention. The other nurse managers had the same response. “We were so focused on the new record
system that we overlooked that. We need to take care of this situation as soon as possible. Billie Blair
Thomas has leadership potential.” Leadership Defined Leadership is a much broader concept than is
management. Although managers should also be leaders, management is focused on the achievement
of organizational goals. Leadership, on the other hand: ...occurs whenever one person attempts to
influence the behavior of an individual or group—up, down, or sideways in the organization—regardless
of the reason. It may be for personal goals or for the goals of others, and these goals may or may not be
congruent with organizational goals. Leadership is influence (Hersey & Campbell, 2004, p. 12) In order to
lead, one must develop three important competencies: (1) ability to diagnose or understand the
situation you want to influence, (2) adaptation in order to allow your behaviors and other resources to
close the gap between the current situation and what you are hoping to achieve, and (3)
communication. No matter how much you diagnose or adapt, if you cannot communicate effectively,
you will probably not meet your goal (Hersey & Campbell, 2004). Effective nurse leaders are those who
engage others to work together effectively in pursuit of a shared goal. Examples of shared goals are
providing excellent client care, designing a costsaving procedure, and challenging the ethics of a new
policy. Followership Followership and lead