Here are six strategies for nurses who aspire to the corner office:
1. Step out of your comfort zone: Get on a committee that you may not be entirely comfortable with. For example, if you're intimidated by numbers, join the finance committee.
2. Develop relationships: Have a broad view and understanding of your entire organization, not just your little slice of it. Cultivate relationships with people who work in the lab and housekeeping, as well as with physicians and other nurses.
3. Find a mentor: When you encounter someone you admire and who does something really well, make an effort to learn from that person.
4. Get a coach: If you want to be a better tennis player, you wouldn't hesitate to get a coach; why should developing leadership skills be any different? "It's worth the investment to get a coach to help you," says Curran.
5. Understand the numbers: It's not enough to be a good clinician; you have to understand the financial aspect of healthcare, too. Curran believes deans of nursing schools should require finance classes for students. If you didn't take one while you were in school, though, it's not too late to take one now.
6. Value your work: If you're working unforgiving hours, day in and day out, maybe surrounded by people who appear not to appreciate you, it's easy to forget the just how important your work really is. "When someone diminishes the significance of what you do over and over again you start to lose appreciation for it," Curran says. "You lose the awe about how miraculous it is."