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7 Business Skills All Nurse Leaders Need


Nurse leaders are a very important and essential healthcare professional in our healthcare system today. These professionals are not only tasked with managing patient care and making sure that patients are provided with the support that they need, but they also need to be experts in working with and managing people since they will often be responsible for leading teams of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Nurse leadership is just one of the many advanced career opportunities that are available for nurses, and it’s a great career to have if you are interested in both helping others and a lucrative management career. In order to succeed, nurse leaders need to possess a combination of both nursing skills and qualities along with several business and management skills. 

Communication Skills

Good communication skills are crucial for both business and nursing, and a nurse leader will not get very far without them. An excellent ability to communicate well with others along with good listening skills is crucial when working as a nurse leader. Nurse leaders will need to put their communication skills to use on a daily basis, especially when it comes to coordinating teams, delegating tasks, and keeping everybody up to date with the latest information that they need to successfully perform their jobs. Nurse leaders will also often play a key part in the nurses’ influence on policy, which you can learn more about with the nursing degrees from Marymount University. Having an impact on healthcare policy means that nurse leaders must be able to effectively communicate ideas and facts to policymakers when advocating for their patients to have policies changed for the better. 

Ability to Work Under Pressure

Nurse leaders need a key business skill to succeed, which involves being able to stay level-headed and work well under pressure. This may be even more important for nurse leaders compared to regular business leaders, because pressure in this role can often mean that you are dealing with a life-or-death situation. A good nurse leader needs to be somebody who can think quickly on their feet and make the right decision in very little time, while being able to cope with the stress that this puts them under especially if patient care is hanging in the balance. They need to be able to adapt quickly to changing situations and be ready for the unexpected to happen at any time.

People Skills

Nurse leaders are a crucial part of effective teams in healthcare. Often, these are professionals who have worked as registered nurses themselves for some time and can easily put themselves in the shoes of the people that they lead in the workplace. To succeed in this role, nurse leaders need to have excellent people skills. They are not just somebody who tells others what to do in the workplace, but professionals who can lead by example and inspire others to be the best at their role. 

Mentoring Skills

Along with managing patient care and teamwork, nurse leaders are often in charge of mentoring others who may be new to the career path. Since all student nurses need to undergo clinical experience placements in order to get their grades and graduate, this is often done under the watchful eye of an experienced nurse leader. Some nurse leaders may even work closely with nurse educators and nursing schools to mentor and monitor students as they learn on the job. Just like in business, nurse leaders need to be good mentors who allow their students to figure it out and learn without being overbearing, while always being accessible for help and advice when needed. 

Decision Making

The ability to make good decisions is often what sets good entrepreneurs and business leaders apart from the rest, and the same is also true for nurse leaders. In this role, nurse leaders are going to be responsible for a lot of weighty decisions. In addition to the quick decisions that they need to be able to make under pressure with the best interests of their patients in mind, nurse leaders are often also in charge of various important workplace decisions that can make a difference to how things are run and how successful the healthcare setting is. They may need to make key decisions regarding how teams are structured, how healthcare services are provided, and more. It’s important for nurse leaders to be able to carefully think weighted decisions through, using data, research and education to back up the choices that they make. 


While empathy might not be one of the most talked-about skills that make a good business leader, being able to see things from others’ points of view can be an extremely good quality to have in any industry, but especially in nursing. Nurse leaders who do well tend to be people who have a lot of empathy and put other people first. They will put their patients and their teams before themselves and always try to put themselves in another’s shoes when making key decisions or during communication, which can help with building stronger relationships and improving outcomes. 

Dedication to Learning

Finally, a nurse leader needs to be somebody who is dedicated to learning more and improving their knowledge – something that any good businessperson will also know is true of almost any industry in which you want to succeed. However, this commitment to learning is often even more important in any healthcare leadership position due to the fact that the healthcare industry is always changing and evolving, sometimes at quite a rapid rate. Nurse leaders are often looked up to by their teams, so they will need to be the first to know about any new developments in healthcare in order to be able to accurately pass this information on and communicate instructions to their team. Along with all other healthcare professionals, nurse leaders may be tested on a regular basis to ensure that their knowledge is up to date. 

Working as a nurse leader doesn’t just require advanced nursing knowledge and skills; this position also requires professional business skills to succeed.