Nurse Keith: Boosting Nurses’ Confidence

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Often, nurses’ success and self-confidence are predicated on a number of factors, including the need for support from leaders and colleagues at their workplace.

Confidence can be created, maintained, and augmented through self-awareness and a desire for personal and professional growth on the part of the nurse. Beyond nurses’ self-motivated advancement, healthcare organizations that employ nurses must prioritize the nurturing of nurse self-confidence in order to engender an engaged and thriving nursing workforce.

Good old-fashioned encouragement

When nurses show up, work hard, contribute, and deliver more than what’s expected of them, praise and encouragement are crucial. Positive feedback and recognition for hard work done at any level can help in ensuring that everyone feels important and not necessarily just a replaceable cog in the healthcare wheel.

We demand a great deal of our nurses, thus recognition and praise allow leadership to offer feedback on what direct reports are doing right. If negativity and error-seeking are the primary focus, the net result is poor relationships and diminished loyalty.

Thoughtful, forward-thinking nurse leaders appreciate this dynamic, understanding that loyalty is truly a two-way street necessitating consistent positive action far beyond the platitudes of Nurses Week.

Education as rocket fuel

The expanding of nurses’ learning can be a powerful booster of self-confidence. Healthcare organizations that value their employees’ success encourage nurses to engage in ongoing education that deepens knowledge, sharpens skills, and increases clinical effectiveness.

Grand rounds and onsite seminars are excellent venues for engaging nurses in educational activities. Beyond that, clinical nurse educators can also shed light on areas of practice where nurses need support and guidance. For both seasoned and novice nurses, there is always more to learn.

Some employers offer incentives for nurses to pursue their formal education in exchange for a certain number of years of continued employment. As a result of many hospitals’ pursuit of a largely baccalaureate-prepared nursing workforce, some nurses choose to take advantage of opportunities to earn their BSN. A bachelor’s education introduces concepts related to nursing leadership, professional development, delegation, and community health, often resulting in an increased level of professionalism and confidence.

Beyond the BSN, nurses’ confidence and personal agency can be elevated through the pursuit of a master’s degree or DNP in exciting areas of study like informatics, executive leadership, and nursing education.

Education can be the rocket fuel of nurses’ confidence and effectiveness, and forward-thinking employers support the timely pursuit of further nursing education.

Confidence = success

Nurses seek success, as do the healthcare organizations that employ them. 

Confident nurses approach their work with curiosity, excitement, and professionalism, and increased confidence leads to stronger clinical practice, nursing innovation, and thoughtful leadership. Thus, the boosting of nursing self-confidence should be a central tenet of enlightened organizations’ employee engagement strategy.

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, consultant, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at NurseKeith.com.

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