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Tips to Help NPs to Take on Tough Leadership Challenges

Posted on February 9, 2018   |   by   |   Advanced Practice Structure, Communication Skills, Employers, Leadership Skills APPs

Stepping into a leadership role as a Nurse Practitioner? Get ready for some pretty tricky situations. But with a few smart communication strategies, you’ll be able to rise up during this next stage of your career.

Several times a month, I speak to graduate-level nursing students who are on their way to becoming Nurse Practitioners. Transitioning to a leadership role doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process, and I often recommend that these new NPs focus on improving their communication skills. This advice applies to anyone, and I think it’s a great way to become the best version of yourself.

As a leader, you’ll face difficult situations that will tax your emotions and your ability to think clearly. When that heat is on, you’ll be glad you know how to manage these moments effectively. The key?  Learn to align your internal thought processes and feelings with what you’re projecting when you communicate. Let’s look at a few examples of real-world issues great healthcare leaders often face.

When You Don’t Have All The Answers

You won’t have a solution for all the problems you encounter as a leader. These situations can seem paralyzing, but by communicating effectively, you’ll be able to maintain your authority. A useful technique is to have a few phrases that help you acknowledge the problem, elicit cooperation from others, and give yourself time to seek a solution.

Next time this happens to you, address the issue with statements like: “This is something I really need to think about,” or “That’s a good thought. I’d like to take some time to consider it.” You can also try responding to a colleague who brings something to your attention by saying: “Can you tell me more about what you’re saying here? I haven’t thought about it that way.”

When You’re Tired and Burned Out

Working as a Nurse Practitioner is taxing, emotionally and physically. Even the best leaders have days when they’re exhausted. But they know giving up isn’t an option because others are counting on them to pull through.

If you’re tired and worn out, be honest with yourself and others. Address the issues you can with professionalism and positivity. Be open about the challenges and your current resources to address them. There is no weakness in asking for help. But effective leaders discuss problems in a way that respects their colleagues and organizations, consciously avoiding negativity, anger, and blame.

When You’re Frustrated with Situations Outside Your Control

Every leader faces the frustration that comes from being short on time, lacking resources, and needing support. Learn to communicate a sense of realistic optimism during these situations, and you’ll be destined to succeed!

For example, a common situation that Nurse Practitioner leaders face is being short-staffed without additional FTE approval from the organization. In situations like this, skilled NP communicators manage their own emotions and have constructive conversations with their colleagues.

It’s difficult, but expressing to others that you understand their concerns and are working on the problem goes a long way to gaining their cooperation. You can be frustrated at the situation, but do your best to avoid expressing frustration (verbally or through your body language) targeting individuals or your own organizational leadership.

When You’re Ready to Move On

I hope this information helps you thrive in your current job. But, if you think it’s time to start a job search, we’d love to help you!

Want to talk through job opportunities and get help identifying the right job for you? Feel free to send me an email at jill@melnic.com. We also invite you to create a free Melnic Profile. There is never a fee for candidates to work with us.

This Week’s Top Nurse Practitioner Jobs

Our Melnic jobs board has NP positions at some of the country’s leading hospitals. If you are an NP who is considering a change, take a look at some of these great job openings!

  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County has a wonderful new opportunity for an NP with Mental Health certification and experience to join the Medical Health Services Team. Plan, implement and evaluate plans of care.
  • Loma Linda University Medical Center is seeking an experienced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to join the surgical team and provide advanced surgical and post-operative care for infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has a great position for an acute care certified advanced practice nurse (PNP). Join the Pulmonary Transitional Care Team and serve infants with a wide variety of pulmonary/chronic medical conditions requiring a mechanical ventilator or other assistive support.
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has a position for a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with experience in Neurology. Direct care of pediatric patients with acute or chronic conditions such as seizure disorders, headaches, pediatric stroke, epilepsy, and various neurologic disorders at this leading academic hospital.
  • Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital has an exciting opportunity for an Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to collaborate with the patient care team in the 10-bed Pediatric Rehabilitation and Development Department unit. Work for one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals.

Review our list of nurse practitioner jobs, then contact us today!


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