Why Should Nurses Become Influential

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Compassionate, flexible, and competent are only a few of the many characteristics needed to become a nurse, but what about influential? The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines influential as “1) having influence and 2) having the power to cause change” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). So why should nurses have the power to cause change? What barriers and facilitators will nurses encounter on the way? How does the image of nursing affect the influence nurses have? And how does influence relate to personal and professional growth? These are just a few of the questions that nurses should consider before deciding to start their career.

A Need for Becoming Influential
So why should nurses be influential? Nurses have a larger goal—one beyond themselves—which is to be more effective in what they do and to influence health care. Improved patient care, better working conditions for nurses, and better health for people are just a few of the reasons for nurses to develop their skill of influence (Sullivan, 2004, p. 7). Gallup polls for the last eleven years straight have ranked nursing as the most trusted profession. As nurses, our opinions and voices have the power to shape safe and high quality care for our patients (Kronenbitter, 2012).

Why Should Nurses Become Influential
The first step to becoming influential is to consider the way you present yourself (Sullivan, 2004, p. 7). This includes your appearance, as well as your behavior. Nurses should always dress and behave in a professional manner. You won’t be able to influence others if no one can take you seriously. The next step is to evaluate your current ability to be influential (Sullivan, 2004, p. 7). What do others think of you? Do you get positive feedback fr...

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...t my career as an influential, professional nurse. I feel more comfortable knowing what barriers I will face during my journey of rising to the top. Overall, I feel I have grown vastly from reading this book, and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned.

Influence cannot be purchased, sold, exchanged, or even thrown away. It cannot be held in your hand, put up on a wall, or hidden under anything. It can be earned through effort; most important, the skills of influence can be taught and learned, not unlike the way we learn clinical skills. Making a decision to become influential is the first, necessary step to gaining influence (Sullivan, 2004, p. 4). By becoming influential, nurses will be able to provide better care to their patients, educate their successors, interact with superiors and coworkers, and contribute to the nursing profession.