Curran says successful nurse executives possess the fundamentals skills a CEO needs. They know how to set priorities and delegate responsibility. They also understand the importance of building good networks and positive relationships, as well as always learning new things and broadening their skills by doing everything from reading articles to attending webinars and workshops. They have a firm grasp on finances, something many women are convinced they're ill-equipped for, despite routinely and competently managing their household finances. But that's a column for another day.
Risk-taking is also important.
Of those who have ventured forth, Curran says, "They all kind of stuck their nose out there and tried something that they had never tried before and never thought of trying." And maybe more importantly, they don't let fear of failure keep them from trying new—and maybe scary and intimidating—things. If you've never made a fool of yourself, now's the time to do it, she says.
"This is about taking a risk with your own abilities, taking a chance," she says. Don't be afraid of mistakes—they're inevitable—and don't linger over them. For example, if you use wrong terminology in a meeting, get over it and move on.