Top Leadership Qualities in Nursing

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To become an effective nurse leader, you’ll need to embody several leadership qualities in nursing. These qualities include collaboration, compassion, communication, integrity, transparency, dedication, positivity, grace, attention to detail, and grace. You’ll develop these qualities during the accelerated nursing track at Concordia University Texas.

nurse standing in hospital smiling

Nurses stand out for their ability to empathize with others and maintain composure in ever-changing healthcare settings. What qualities do nurses who successfully reach leadership positions share? Below, we’ll discuss leadership qualities in nursing that will help you reach your personal and professional goals.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track at Concordia University Texas (CTX) is committed to helping you become a skilled nurse ready to take on leadership roles. The 16-month accelerated track in Austin and Dallas, Texas, offers three yearly starts and can help you begin your nursing leadership path quickly.

Now, let’s discuss the top qualities of a nurse leader. You’ll start developing these skills during the ABSN track and carry them into your nursing career as you pursue leadership opportunities.

Communication & Collaboration

Effective communication skills will come into play repeatedly as a nurse. You’ll need to talk with your patients and their families in a way they can understand so they can feel heard and respected. Communication as a nurse leader expands outside of patient care into organizational management with conversations focusing on patient care initiatives, healthcare policy and politics, and growth management.

Along with communication comes collaboration. Healthcare is a team-oriented industry, and no matter what department you are in, you must work well with others to succeed. To embody the qualities of a nurse leader, you need to understand team dynamics and appreciate everyone’s strengths and contributions. By collaborating effectively with everyone, you’re positioning yourself to be a successful nurse leader.

ABSN student in sim lab holding chart folder

Compassion & Grace

Compassion — a hallmark of the best nurses — is another key quality of a nurse leader. Nurses care for patients with complex and stressful health conditions and are pivotal in their recovery. Nursing leaders support not only the patients in their care, but also their nursing team. Navigating conversations with compassion and grace is crucial in nursing leadership.

Acting with grace is another quality that will set you apart as a nurse leader. Grace consists of forgiving and extending goodwill to others even when they make mistakes while holding people accountable. This is key as a nurse leader, so your team feels comfortable coming to you when they are overwhelmed or have a problem. Your team must trust that you’ll show them grace and be supportive even if they falter.

school nurse helping child with band-aid

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Integrity and a strong moral compass are essential nursing leadership qualities. For the past 20 years, Americans have voted nursing as the field with the highest ethics and honesty rating, according to Gallup. Leading with integrity and honesty will help your patients and coworkers trust and see you as a successful leader. One way to lead with integrity is to be transparent with those you are communicating with. Being vulnerable and honest can go a long way in becoming a trusted leader.


Nurses are professionals. It’s not just how you dress but how you carry yourself that indicates your commitment to professionalism. Showing others respect and consideration, maintaining composure even in stressful situations, and avoiding getting angry and treating others poorly is the expectation in nursing. Nurse leaders understand how to remain calm and level-headed as they navigate any question or concern presented to them.

ABSN student working with sim manikin

Dedication & Detail

Nursesare committed to their work. They realize that to achieve their career goals, they need to work hard and devote time and energy to their craft. This dedication begins before you even become a registered nurse (RN). Although the role of a nurse leader is different than that of a bedside nurse, nurse leaders have many priorities to manage and details to be mindful of as they work with their team to address patient care, create organizational culture change, and continue to promote the profession of nursing through growth and development strategies.

During nursing school, especially an accelerated nursing track like ours at Concordia University Texas, you’ll need to work hard every day to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months. After graduation, you will be prepared to enter a leadership role.

CTX ABSN students working in sim lab

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Nurse leaders manage organizations going through tough times. Amid struggles nurses with a positive attitude can shine light into dark places. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Nurses who make people feel supported and cared for and who shine positive energy into others’ lives are the nurses who will earn leadership positions.

CTX nursing students smiling and laughing in lab


Nurse leaders are growth-minded, always looking for ways to improve the environments they work in. If you aspire for career progression, you’ll need to be committed to personal and professional growth. Ask for feedback from others, seek ways to learn and hone your nursing skills, and never think you’re the smartest person in the room.

Start Your Nursing Journey at CTX

Now that you know the leadership qualities found in successful nursing leaders, it’s time to start your journey to becoming a registered nurse. The first step is earning your BSN, which you can do in as few as 16 months at CTX. If you have at least 60 non-nursing college credits, you may be eligible to apply.

two CTX ABSN students using medical tools

Follow these seven steps to become a nurse through an accelerated nursing track.

Our ABSN track integrates online and hands-on learning through online courses, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to sit for the NCLEX and begin your nursing career. If you aspire to a leadership role, earning your BSN is the essential starting point.

Contact our admissions counselors to learn more about starting the ABSN track at CTX.