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Leadership advice: ‘Be open to opportunities even if they don't fit neatly into your plans’

A member of Nursing Management's editorial advisory board offers her advice on the qualities needed to be a nurse leader
Vector image of woman opening door shaped like arrow pointing up. To mark the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, members of our editorial advisory team reflect on nursing and advice for aspiring leaders. This article is by Nichole McIntosh.

A member of Nursing Management's editorial advisory board offers her advice on the qualities needed to be a nurse leader

Why have you become a nursing leader?

Growing up in rural Jamaica, I narrowed my future career to three distinct options early on: hotel manager, flight attendant and nurse. Nursing won! I became a nurse leader because nurses should have inspirational and dynamic nurse leaders who live the values of kindness, courage and compassion, and I have these qualities.

Would you recommend such a role?

I would recommend it to anyone who has a passion to help others, who is compassionate and resilient. Nursing leadership is a rewarding role and we always need more nurses to lead, to ensure that our patients and their families are cared for with dignity and respect.

What enables you to

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A member of Nursing Management's editorial advisory board offers her advice on the qualities needed to be a nurse leader

Vector image of woman opening door shaped like arrow pointing up. To mark the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, members of our editorial advisory team reflect on nursing and advice for aspiring leaders. This article is by Nichole McIntosh.
Picture: iStock

Why have you become a nursing leader?

Growing up in rural Jamaica, I narrowed my future career to three distinct options early on: hotel manager, flight attendant and nurse. Nursing won! I became a nurse leader because nurses should have inspirational and dynamic nurse leaders who live the values of kindness, courage and compassion, and I have these qualities.

Would you recommend such a role?

I would recommend it to anyone who has a passion to help others, who is compassionate and resilient. Nursing leadership is a rewarding role and we always need more nurses to lead, to ensure that our patients and their families are cared for with dignity and respect.

What enables you to maintain this role?

I have been ambitious, attained a high educational standard and undertaken continuous professional development to allow me to progress in my nursing career. A desire for lifelong learning has also developed my critical thinking skills, an essential for successful nursing leaders.

How would you empower or encourage less experienced staff to become leaders too?

My advice is:

  • Be clear about your goals and aspirations and the reasons for them.
  • Plan carefully and be open to opportunities even if they don't fit neatly into your plans.
  • Educate your mind and your brain.
  • Be emotionally intelligent and receptive to coaching.
  • Reflect on and learn from every experience so you can use it for personal and professional growth.

Who would you regard as an outstanding modern-day nursing leader and why?

North East London NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Oliver Shanley because of his compassionate leadership style, which shows his personal and professional integrity and inspires others.

Read more on celebrating nursing leadership


Picture of Nichole McIntosh, head of clinical quality at NHS Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group. To mark the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, members of our editorial advisory team reflect on nursing and advice for aspiring leaders.Nichole McIntosh, @McIntoshNichole, is head of clinical quality, NHS Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group, London, and a member of the Nursing Management editorial advisory board

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