Leadership Growth in Nursing

By Nancy Simon, CNO, Methodist Health System

Becoming a nurse leader doesn’t just happen. It takes dedication, commitment, and a willingness to learn on the part of the nurse as well as the hospital. Effective leaders use their passion for caring as a foundation upon which they build their future careers. Successful organizations, ones where nurses want to work and build their life’s dream of helping others, recognize leadership potential, encourage its development, and mentor individuals to achieve their full potential.

Methodist Health System has identified five ways to promote leadership growth among its nurses.

Shared governance. Nurse leaders flourish in an environment that is always asking all staff members, “How can we do things better?” Taking the wisdom of the front line staff, shaping it to benefit the patient and the unit, and leading his or her team to sustained success are the hallmarks of a respected leader. Listening and leading, not telling, are critical success factors for leadership growth.

Look for leaders everywhere. A culture that encourages thinking outside the box by affording every opportunity for leadership development among the entire nursing staff brings out the best in everyone. Health care organizations that consistently and proactively look for future talent from within and carefully mold that talent stand head and shoulders above others.

Lead by example. Many health care organizations struggle to find the right people. Finding leaders who believe in the organization’s mission, vision and values and who are able to demonstrate their commitment through their actions are invaluable. At Methodist, nurses are encouraged to step out and take a leadership position by being positive role models and developing self-confidence through continual, effective coaching.

Follow a leader’s footsteps. Leaders are, at first, great followers. Shadowing provides the opportunity to learn real-life, on-the-job lessons from mentors who bring an entirely new perspective to caring for patients and others. As the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.” So too, experienced leaders are the best teachers.

Invest in their future. There’s no question that nurses are personally rewarded for the care they provide to their patients. Developing nurse leaders means investing in their future. Tuition reimbursement tells the nurse that he or she is cared for by an organization that is committed to lifelong learning and leadership development.

Our commitment to cultivating strong, compassionate leadership is one of the reasons Methodist has consistently been recognized as a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal seven years in a row. No wonder so many Methodist nurses continue to advance their education. For more information on promoting leadership growth in nursing, please visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.


Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or any of its affiliated hospitals.

© Methodist Health System

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