How does a nurse become an effective leader? It is not surprising there is no one answer to this question. I have taken the liberty to review several nurse leader biographies published online. It was interesting to read the titles that followed these nurse leader’s names. For example, Ph.D., MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, DNP, MA, MBA, CENP, FACHE, ACHE, NEA-BC, LNHA, CENP, APRN, NEA-BC, CPHQ, CPXP, FAAN. I had to research some of these titles which helped me to better understand the biography.
After reading the biographies, and reflecting on my nursing career, I wondered if I had missed opportunities in my early nursing career. As a young nurse, I rarely engaged in conversations about titles much less the steps required to position oneself as a recognized nurse leader. I was familiar with the rank structure of a commissioned officer in the military, starting from Second Lieutenant upward to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel. A nurse in the military has three pathways for advancement, which are Clinical/Operational, Staff, and Executive/Leadership.
Both civilians and military nurses have opportunities of engaging in expanding nurse leadership roles. The question then is, do influential nurse leaders have mentors that helped them along the way or did they have lucky breaks? Finally, I looked at the titles following my name and realized that even though I did not have a mentor my nursing knowledge writing journal articles, being published, and starting up a nursing website while building critical leadership skills seemed to be great achievements in retrospect. Achieving each of these titles did not come easy and called for sacrifice, patience, dedication, and the willpower to find the right motivation and inspiration to continue the journey on the nurse advancement highway. I found the spark to climb the professional leader when I took off my clinical hat, so to speak, and sought out other opportunities. What is your nurse story?