Wellness & Resilience Faculty  Tool Kit  Competency-Based Development


Leadership Concept

Leadership Concept

Leadership in health care takes many forms and styles. Every nurse needs to be prepared to lead as appropriate for their scope of practice, role in the healthcare system, and as a member of a care team. 

For entry-level nursing students, we recommend schools prepare students with situational leadership skills. Situational leadership is an adaptive style that is well suited for a variety of nursing roles at both the entry- and advanced-levels of practice.  

Situational leadership skills have the potential to help nurses meet the core concepts of clinical practice more effectively. These include clinical judgement; communication; compassionate care; diversity, equity, and inclusion; evidence-based practice; health policy; and the social determinants of health. Adaptable as needed, the style of the leader may change continually to meet the needs of others in the organization based on the situation. 

The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity underscores the critical need to develop a more diverse nursing workforce as key to achieving the goals of reducing health disparities, providing culturally relevant care for all populations, and leading to health equity. Diversity encompasses more than race or ethnicity. Diverse workplaces are composed of individuals with varying characteristics including, but not limited to, religious and political beliefs, mental and physical abilities/disabilities, gender, age, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and geographic location. It is critical to build an inclusive environment where all students receive individualized support and are encouraged to thrive academically and professionally. Equally important, "nurse leaders have a responsibility to address structural racism, cultural racism, and discrimination based on identity (e.g., sexual orientation, gender), place (e.g., rural, urban), and circumstances (e.g., disability, mental health condition) within the nursing profession and to help build structures and systems at the societal level that address these issues to promote health equity" (National Academy of Medicine, 2021, pp. 10-11).


Situational leadership in nursing is defined as the ability to:  

  • Take the lead in patient care scenarios as appropriate to one’s role; and, 
  • Demonstrate both leadership and followership skills on healthcare teams. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are defined as: 

Diversity references a broad range of individual, population, and social characteristics, including but not limited to age; sex; race; ethnicity; sexual orientation; gender identity; family structures; geographic locations; national origin; immigrants and refugees; language; physical, functional, and learning abilities; religious beliefs; and socioeconomic status. Inclusion represents environmental and organizational cultures in which faculty, students, staff, and administrators with diverse characteristics thrive. Inclusive environments require intentionality and embrace differences, not merely tolerate them. Everyone works to ensure the perspectives and experiences of others are invited, welcomed, acknowledged, and respected in inclusive environments. More broadly, equity is interrelated with diversity and inclusion. Equity is the ability to recognize the differences in the resources or knowledge needed to allow individuals to fully participate in society, including access to higher education, with the goal of overcoming obstacles to ensure fairness (Kranich, 2001). To have equitable systems, all people should be treated fairly, unhampered by artificial barriers, stereotypes or prejudices (Cooper, 2016). These definitions can be found in the AACN Position Statement - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academic Nursing (2021).  

Deborah Stamps, EdD, Executive Vice President & Chief Nursing Education and Diversity Officer, Rochester Regional Health