Having Influence at Work as a Nurse

Having Influence at Work as a Nurse was originally published on Hospital Recruiting.

Portrait of a young, smiling nurse
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As a nurse, there are many different areas that you can personally influence. The nursing profession is all about positively impacting the lives of the patients, and there are many ways that a nurse can have a positive impact in their workplace environment, as well. There are four key areas of influence that a nurse has in the workplace.

The Way Things are Done

The healthcare field involves a lot of different processes and policies. Nurses are a vital part of the healthcare team and are uniquely positioned to influence the processes of their clinical employers. As nurses are involved in the day-to-day elements of providing patient care, they are exposed to healthcare processes that might be inefficient, incorrect, or that could be improved to benefit the patient. Ways that nurses influence policies and procedures include:

  • Participation in clinical committees – Committees in the hospital environment are made up of a variety of participants, and almost always include multiple nurses. The type of committee will affect what areas your participation in the committee will influence.
  • Conversations with leaders – Speaking with your manager or the next person up in the chain of command can help you to see new procedures implemented or change the way that care is performed.
  • Pursue positions of leadership – As a nurse leader, you will be uniquely positioned to assess and change the process in the areas that you lead and change how your team provides care. Pursuing positions of leadership can put you in a great position to influence your workplace.

The Way Your Organization is Perceived

Patients and the community will have certain perceptions about the organization that you work for. As a nurse, you will be a key influencer of their perception of your organization. Ways that you influence this perception include:

  • Your conversation in the community – Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways that news about a company spreads. The way that you talk about your organization in the community you serve will influence the community’s perception of your organization in a significant way.
  • How you treat your patients – Patients will judge your organization by the way they are treated while they are there. As their nurse, you will interact with them more than most other people, making your treatment of them one of the key influencers of how they perceive the organization.

The Knowledge of Your Coworkers

As a nurse, you have a significant influence over the level of knowledge and skill of the team that you work with. By increasing your own clinical knowledge and sharing that with others in a way that is helpful, you can influence the skill and knowledge of your team. Things that you can do to enhance your clinical knowledge and the skill of your team include:

  • Stay up to date with clinical knowledge – By subscribing to professional journals and keeping up to date with new information, you can increase your own professional knowledge and increase the knowledge of your team by sharing what you learn.
  • Professional memberships – Having a professional membership in the specialty that you work in will provide you with educational materials and resources that enhance your knowledge.
  • Volunteer to train and precept others – Nurse managers are looking for skilled nurses to train and teach the next generation of nurses. By volunteering for opportunities to train others, you can influence new team members and help them to become better nurses.

The Attitude of Your Team

While increasing the level of clinical knowledge and improving processes are great ways to influence your work environment, there are more extrinsic ways that you can have a positive influence that are just as important. These include:

  • Having a good attitude toward others – By having a good attitude about the way that other staff work, the way that patients act, or even about the way that doctors treat your fellow nurses, you will help your team to improve their outlook on their jobs and make your workplace a happier, more pleasant environment.
  • Having a positive attitude towards leadership – Your manager or other leaders are responsible for the care of all the patients in your department, along with juggling the conflicting needs of many nurses. Having an understanding attitude towards leadership and emphasizing their positives will help you and your coworkers to have a better workplace environment.

By promoting a good attitude in your workplace and pursuing opportunities to improve your processes and the knowledge of your team, you will be able to have a significant positive influence in your workplace.