Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!:
doi: 10.1097/01.NME.0000426297.01571.5d
Department: Editorial

Are you empowered?

Section Editor(s): Jordan, Rita MSN, RN; Davis, Charlotte BSN, RN, CCRN

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GEC Nurse Educator • Alvin C. York VA Medical Center • Murfreesboro, Tenn.

CCU/CVICU Direct Care Nurse • Heritage Medical Center • Shelbyville, Tenn.

Direct Care Nurse/Charge Nurse • Alvin C. York VA Medical Center • Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Being empowered means that you have the ability to effectively motivate and mobilize yourself and others to accomplish positive outcomes in your practice and work environment. When you're committed to enhancing your knowledge base and incorporating evidence-based practice (EBP) research findings, you become a positive change agent and can serve as a role model for your peers, supervisors, and the community. The final outcomes of nursing empowerment are increased workplace satisfaction, enhanced nursing autonomy, and improved patient outcomes.

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Here are some common tasks that can improve your ability to be empowered.

* Enhance your leadership skills. Nurses should be encouraged to participate in leadership and management internship programs. Inquire if your employer has formal or informal opportunities for nurses to shadow organizational nursing leaders. Many healthcare organizations encourage nurses to participate in organizational committees that make decisions and develop policies that impact nursing job responsibilities and practice. These programs allow you to enhance your global view of leadership styles, develop a rapport with organizational leaders, and attain insight into how your organization operates. You should also consider enrolling in leadership continuing-education classes at a local community college, university, or online.

* Be a positive change agent. Evaluate your environment to find areas for improvement that will increase the efficiency of your work area, heighten job role satisfaction, or improve patient outcomes. Consider forming a workgroup or committee. Workgroups allow nurses to collaborate to accomplish specific tasks, such as initiating a new protocol for a procedure that will improve patient safety and systems efficiency, resolve knowledge deficits, or increase nurses' workplace satisfaction.

* Get certified. You can gain personal and professional satisfaction by obtaining specialty certification that reflects your level of expertise in a specialized area. You may want to form a study group with your coworkers for specialty certification exams. Research has shown that when hospitals are staffed with baccalaureate-prepared nurses who hold specialty certifications, 30-day patient mortality is dramatically lower. Nurses who attain specialty certification are more invested in the success of their organization, collaborate more effectively with their healthcare team, and are more empowered in their work area.

* Be an EBP cheerleader. Evaluate new EBP data to find more efficient ways to perform tasks and procedures or provide patient care. When nurses implement EBP and research councils into their practice, patient care outcomes are improved, as well as patient satisfaction with the level of care received. You can enhance your knowledge base by completing continuing-education courses offered by employers, community colleges, or universities or by attending workshops held by employers or nursing conventions at the local, state, or national level. Many state and national nursing associations offer virtual learning continuing-education opportunities that allow you to acquire new EBP data from home.

You should continuously strive to be a role model within your work environment and encourage your team members to join you on the journey to empowerment.

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