Nicole Que, MSN, RN, CCRN, recipient of the Nurse.com 2014 California region Rising Star Award, recognizes her nursing career hasnt been long.
But after just four years, Ques rapid professional growth already has set her apart as a leader to watch.
Most recently, Que served as quality and safety coordinator nurse 2 at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, as well as working as a nurse in its cardiothoracic ICU. She helped oversee the hospitals incident reporting system, while helping to create a risk-assessment tool and algorithm in support of the hospitals Stop the Line initiative to decrease venous thromboembolism events. She currently is studying to earn an MSN in nurse anesthesia. Que believes other nurses new to the profession similarly can step forward in leadership, even without extensive experience.
FIND A ROLE MODEL
All nurses should find someone who inspires them and others. Then, they should take the time to get to know what makes that person a good leader, Que said.
Que, for instance, said she drew inspiration from a chief nursing officer who, while she never could have gotten to know all the nurses working for her, inspired them by representing their interests and backing key initiatives.
Show interest, and pursue mentors, people who want to teach you, Que said. Nobody enters into leadership jobs with all skills at the ready.
GROW WHERE YOURE PLANTED
No one becomes a CNO overnight. But any nurse can become a leader anywhere. For Que, that began with taking the time to hone my nursing skills, learn the routines and nuances of my bedside nursing position. Navigating leadership on a unit of a hospital takes a little time to understand, especially for someone so new to the profession, Que said. I looked to the senior nurses on my unit to teach me.
GET OPEN, STAY OPEN
Leadership development can begin with gaining experience. Que suggested new nurses identify causes about which they are passionate, then find ways to engage in them.
Maybe its bringing volunteerism to your hospital, or engaging the community in controlling diabetes or perhaps more urgently, measles, Que said.
But dont neglect looking inward for areas that need improvement, as well, whether that means pursuing a more advanced degree or working in a specialized unit, she said.
Some skills you have no choice but to learn on the job, Que said. But having the willingness and openness to learn and acquire those skills will help you develop into a successful leader.
REPOSITION FOR CHANGE
Leadership development, however, only begins with experience. Aspiring nurse leaders need to understand and apply the knowledge gained and skills honed through mentors, education, hard work and experience to not only improve themselves, but also to inspire others and adapt to an ever-changing landscape.
Nursing cannot stand still, Que said. A nurse leader recognizes the utmost importance of changing with and for society and can represent and inspire nurses in this way. If a nursing leader cannot do so, positions are merely that positions.