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How Nurses Use Their Skills and Voices to Lead the Way Out of Healthcare Crisis

How Nurses Use Their Skills and Voices to Lead the Way Out of the Healthcare Crisis

We are in the midst of a huge healthcare crisis. Many hospitals were already working on slim margins before the pandemic, leading to staffing shortages. This situation has only worsened as we come out of the peak of the pandemic. Other looming problems for healthcare are the potential for another pandemic and the rising numbers of organisms resistant to antibiotics. 

This post will explore insights into how nurses use their skills and voices to lead the way out of the healthcare crisis, specifically focusing on content writing. As a nurse, you already use writing in your job. These writing skills are sought after by companies looking for writers for their healthcare content. Writing is one of the many ways to lead and be that voice of change.

Skills Nurses Can Use to Lead the Way Out of the Healthcare Crisis

Here are five skills you already have as a nurse that you can use to inform public policy, educate a broader population, and create the innovation needed to address the healthcare crisis.

  1. Communication. Talking with patients and other healthcare providers requires verbal and written communication skills. As a nurse, you alert others to potential problems and educate patients about their care, which requires good communication skills.
  2. Care and compassion. The ability to empathize with your patients is part of your skill set. When patients don’t understand their treatment plan or need immediate care, you are often called upon to address the issue.
  3. Lifelong learning. Education is part of your job. Nurses use evidence-based nursing to improve care, train on new equipment, and become comfortable with the latest changes in the electronic health record. This education happens on an almost daily basis.
  4. Holistic care. You understand the patient as a whole person. The whole-person lens makes patients feel more supported. It also gives you insight into what types of support patients need, a skill valued by businesses in the healthcare sector.
  5. Problem-solving. Clinical judgment and problem-solving are skills you practiced in nursing school and further developed on the job. These skills can be helpful in terms of creating public policy that works for patients.

How Nurses Can Use Their Voices to Create Positive Changes in Healthcare

Nurses can take the following steps to grow and utilize their leadership skills needed during a healthcare crisis.  

  1. Participate in Content Writing. Writing is an effective way for nurses to communicate with other healthcare professionals and inform the public about health issues. Many nurses used their voices during the height of the pandemic to curb the spread of misinformation regarding Covid 19. Nurses are increasingly using this skill in the area of content writing. Companies want writers that can translate evidence-based health care into content consumers can understand. You can do this type of writing in addition to your current nursing job from home.
  2. Engage in policy where you work. This strategy might involve serving on a hospital committee or participating in unit activities. It even helps to complete those surveys your employer sends out. If your clinic or hospital does not know about the problem, they can’t fix it.
  3. Join a nursing organization. Joining an organization like the American Nurses Association (ANA) automatically makes you a member of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), both great sources of nursing information. There are also many specialty organizations, such as the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON) or the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN). These memberships allow you to stay current with healthcare research, and many offer free Continuing Education Units (CEU), which helps defray the cost of joining.
  4. Take on leadership roles in national groups. Depending on the role, these positions may not require much in the way of a time commitment. It is also important to advance leadership beyond professional nursing by shaping policy. For many years, physicians have been the primary leaders of healthcare. However, their focus is often on the diagnosis of healthcare conditions. Current changes in healthcare require a focus on preventing and managing chronic illness. As a nurse, you already know how to focus on these issues with the whole-person lens needed.
  5. Engage in social media and subscribe to a nursing blog or website. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are effective for staying up-to-date with what’s new in nursing or finding freelance writing jobs. By actively participating in social media, you can be a positive voice that presents evidence-based information. You can also support your fellow nurses in their writing and advocacy endeavors.

nursing staff walking in a hospital corridor

What Initiatives and Resources Are Available to Help Nurses Lead and Stay Engaged in the Healthcare Crisis?

During the recent healthcare crisis, nurses used the critical thinking skills they had developed to find new solutions to problems and preserve valuable resources in the middle of the pandemic, such as masks. Remember, you already have resources. To lead change at the bedside, work on improving your critical thinking by using self-reflection and your natural curiosity as a nurse. 

If you are an aspiring leader or already in leadership, engage in activities that support your goals. Join groups like the ANA. You can also use sites, such as Relias, that provide tools for retention and nurse satisfaction. Nurse managers and other nurse leaders can use these tools to grow their toolbox. Continuing Education (CE) is also available for developing leadership skills.

ICN provides a toolkit outlining ways to make a difference and highlighting the stories of nurses creating change across the globe. The stories might spark your next innovation or give you an idea for that next freelance writing assignment.

If you are not already a writer, learn more about content writing as a career and use your voice as a nurse to impact healthcare. 

All of these steps can ensure that, as a community of nurses, we will have safe, effective healthcare in the years to come.

References

Affara, F. A., Tuipulotu, A. A., Al Darazi, F., Aiken, L.H., Betker, C., Buchan, J., Debout, C., Dussault, G., Espinoza, P., Hassmiller, S. B., McHugh, M., Needleman, J., Peduzzi, M., Rogo, K., Roodbol, P.F., Salmon, M., Salvage, J., Rafferty, A. M., Shin, K.R., …Yates, P. (2020). Nurses: A voice to lead nursing the world to health. International Council of Nurses. https://2020.icnvoicetolead.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/IND_Toolkit_120320.pdf

Anders, R. L. (2021). Engaging nurses in health policy in the era of Covid-19. Nursing Forum, 56(1): 89–94. doi: 10.1111/nuf.12514. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675349/

Cornell, A. & Vaughn, N. (2020). 13 qualities of a good nurse: Leadership & personality characteristics. Relias. https://www.relias.com/blog/13-qualities-and-characteristics-of-a-good-nurse

Glatter, R., Papadakos, P., & Shah, Y. (2023). The coming collapse of the U.S. health care system. Time Magazine. https://time.com/6246045/collapse-us-health-care-system/

Morris, G. (2023). The value of critical thinking in Nursing. Nurse Journal. https://nursejournal.org/articles/the-value-of-critical-thinking-in-nursing/

About the Author

Denise Post DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, BCB
Denise Post DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, BCB

Denise Post has been a Registered Nurse since 1988 and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner since 2015. She has experience as a pediatric intensive care nurse and as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in non-medication strategies for managing chronic headaches. She is currently working as a nursing instructor for undergraduate nursing students.

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