Leadership Lessons I Learned from Nurses

January 12, 2012


On Tuesday I had to take my wife to the ER. She was having some major pain in her back and stomach so we wanted to check that out (especially with her being 15 weeks pregnant). So we made the drive into the ER and sat there forever like what always happens.

Jenny’s OB wanted to admit her so we got situated in a room and spent the day waiting on results and having a few more tests run. Other than the fact of being stuck in a hospital room, it was actually kind of relaxing.

The nurses kept coming in to check on Jenny and see if there was anything that they could do. They were more than helpful. In the 24 hours we were there, we saw her doctor twice.

That got me thinking about nurses and the job they do. Nurses do a whole lot of work and don’t always get the appreciation they deserve. We always talk about “going to see the doctor,” even if we don’t really see much of him or her.

It’s true that the doctor is the one making all of the decisions. Doctors prescribe medication, order tests to be run, come in and check the heartbeat for themselves, and lots of other things. But the nurses are the ones who carry out all of those duties and interact with the patients.

Watching them do their job got me thinking about being a leader. There are a few things we can learn from nurses to help us lead better.

Do the work that needs to be done. Sometimes there is work to be done and nobody wants to do it. That may be the time when a leader needs to step in and just take care of it. I watched the nurses do jobs that were not necessarily theirs, but they saw that it had not been taken care of yet. I have often heard that leaders lead by example. If you want your volunteers, employees, or children to be more willing to get a job done, sometimes they need us to step in and do it first.

Interact with those that you serve. Whether you are providing a professional service to those you serve or volunteering it is a good idea to talk with and empathize with those you are serving. There is a particular company that we pay for services right now who I dread calling. When I call in I get an automated service and after I get through that I am put on hold for an average of 6-10 minutes before I finally get to talk to someone. Even when I first called in to set up a service I had been put on hold for 18 minutes. I should have taken notice of the sign then. It is not personable and makes me feel unappreciated. This point reminds me of those Farmers Insurance Commercials where the guys are being tested on their clients and different things about them. It is important to know not only the names of the people we serve but also other things about them. It makes them feel valued and appreciated.

Don’t expect a lot of praise. As I mentioned before, nurses do not always get a lot of thank you. If they have nice patients, then they might get some thank-yous. But from patients who are in a bad mood or often from doctors, no thanks are given. Sometimes we need to realize that our job needs to be done, even if it means we don’t get any praise. Then, when we do get praise, we should hold on to that to fuel us until the next time. Also remember, as a Christian, God is looking down on the works we are doing and is pleased when we work whole heartily for Him. Your reward will be great if you faithfully follow His plan.

We really enjoyed our time in the hospital, or at least it was not a terrible experience. The nurses made it pleasant and professional. They really set the tone for our time spent there. We can do the same thing for others.

Have you ever spent time in a hospital? What set the whole mood of your time spent there? What other lessons can we learn from nurses?

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One Response to “Leadership Lessons I Learned from Nurses”

  1. […] Leadership Lessons I Learned from Nurses […]

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