Nurses are on the front lines of the changing health care landscape, and are uniquely equipped to affect positive change in many areas from patient care to hospital administration.

Nurses in leadership positions have the potential to transform health care as we know it.

According to the ANA Leadership Institute™, a nurse leader is “a nurse interested in excelling in a career path, a leader within a health care organization who represents the interests of the nursing profession, a seasoned nurse or health care administrator interested in refining skills to differentiate them from the competition or to advance to the next level of leadership.”

Nurse leaders want to stand out as making a difference in their profession, no matter where they are in their career. They’re life-long learners who push themselves outside of well-established comfort zones in order to innovate and inspire teams to high achievement. Creativity, vision, and strategic focus are important qualities, too, as nurse leaders discover systemic solutions to the field’s most pressing problems.

Just as important as vision and advanced education are the soft skills a leader must demonstrate to empower fellow nurses to implement change. Ultimately, the chance to inspire and nurture eager minds is what makes nursing leadership a challenging and rewarding career.