The 7 Characteristics of a Nurse Leader Part 3 – Resourcefulness

bookshelf concept of utilizing resources and resourcefulness

The 7 Characteristics of a Clinical Leader Part 3 – Resourcefulness

In Part 2 of our series, we looked at the essence of confidence. We discussed the inter-relationship of confidence and humility and learned that you could only grow confident through humility. Lastly, we discussed steps to boost confidence and develop as clinical leaders. Today, I wanted to talk about the resourcefulness of a clinical leader.

If you have not read the previous installments in this series, please take the time to go back and read those before moving forward.

You can find them here:

The 7 Characteristics of a Clinical Leader Part 1 – Humility

The 7 Characteristics of a Clinical Leader Part 2 – Confidence


 “able to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.”          

Being interviewed for a role, the interviewer asked me what trait stands out. I replied, “I am resourceful. I am not the most knowledgeable (still true today) or the most experienced (again, still true today) but I am an expert at finding solutions, seeking answers, and making things happen”.

In a recent article in by Sherri Campbell, she states, “There is not a more useful or important trait to possess than resourcefulness in the pursuit of success.”

During a training session, I often give all the information, tools, and resources needed to do a task. However, no amount of training can replace what you learn by “figuring things out.”

I remember working with a nurse on a system. We had gone through a significant amount of training, and I left her with some easy homework. “Get in the system poke around and see what you see.” A week later I came back to do some follow-up training and found she had not even logged in. I asked her why she said she didn’t remember how. Now compare that to another nurse in the training group. She pulled out a folder with the how to guides she printed up, some she found by reaching out to other nurses, and got right in. She learned the system quickly and efficiently. That nurse has grown and climbed the corporate ladder flawlessly since then.

In the Harvard Business Review John Baldoni addresses the importance of Resourcefulness in business leaders today, “The leader who steps up and says “yes we can do this” is one who can push colleagues to do things that some might consider impractical.” – A capable leader is one who seeks information and solutions. They take stock of all they have put it together and find results where others have already given up.

It’s not resources but resourcefulness that ultimately makes the difference – Tony Robbins

Being resourceful isn’t about having the answers it’s about having the drive to seek the answers. One of the biggest assets employers are seeking in candidates today are ones who are resourceful. As a clinical leader, it is imperative to learn this skill and utilize it.


3 Steps to becoming a resourceful leader

Women Figuring it out. Thinking of solutions and showing resourcefulness.

  1. Figure it out

When given a task, figure out how to do it! I am not saying don’t ask for help. Everyone needs help, and to be shown how to do things. But, seek the answers instead of sitting and waiting for someone to hand them to you. Many companies have a website or system with how-tos and knowledge guides, take the time to get acquainted with these. Pull your policy and procedures, state regulations, or go to your state nursing board website. Learn how to research!

Man Crushing Barriers as a means of resourcefulness.

  1. Crush barriers

Once you learn to research you will have the tools to figure out how to complete your task on your own. But, what about that time when an obstacle rears its ugly head right in the middle of your job. I have found there are two types of people here. Ones who throw their hand’s up and give up and ones who start getting creative. When you find yourself facing these obstacles, take a step back. If I am working on the computer, I will often print it out and go to another room to review. Just changing scenery can sometimes spark problem-solving juices and help find solutions. Go for a walk. Grab lunch. Go bounce things off, co-workers. The key word here is “GO” don’t wait for someone to find a solution for you.

Networking and working together show resourcefulness.

  1. Know people

Learn who the expert is. During my work in memory care, we had an admit coming in. The husband (primary care provider) had an emergency, and his wife needed our help. They had been turned down by many places and didn’t want to have to admit her into the hospital or psychiatric department. We reach out to a local doctor who could reach out to her primary and get all the information we needed. I grabbed a caregiver who was fantastic with memory care and off we went. We had this resident admitted and safe within an hour! I could never have made this happen, but because of my relationship with others we pulled together and moved mountains for this resident.

Always be building relationships and fostering them. Also, find ways to go out of your way to help others, and when the time comes more than likely, they will be there for you.

Author: Derek Di Camillo

I have been a nurse since 2010 and come from a variety of fields. CPR Instructor, Customer Service, IT/Technology to name a few. Through my travels I have learned many lessons that have prepared me for leadership roles in the Assisted Living industry. I am constantly seeking to better myself and share what I have learned and am learning along the way.

2 thoughts on “The 7 Characteristics of a Nurse Leader Part 3 – Resourcefulness”

  1. Excellent point & illustration of how building & fostering relationships is a wonderful way to be able to help/super other professionals & for them todo the same. This helps us to provide timely, excellent patient care. We also can learn so much from our colleagues. Always work to cultivate & maintain these wonderful relationships.

    1. Thank you for kind comment Andrea. I think this is often overlooked when thinking of how leaders work.

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