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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Meeting Challenges in Nursing Leadership: Drawing Inspiration from the Past to Shape the Future

Many nurses throughout history have left distinguished legacies of excellence in a variety of ways. What impact might you have on patients that you encounter every day?

Past and current challenges in nursing and health care have been met by exemplary nurse leaders. Each exhibited, or exhibits, an enhanced focus and ideation, enriched values, purpose, and grit! Successful nurse leaders are equipped to be effective thinkers, communicators, motivators, and champions of personalized health care.

Nurses continue to build upon a rich legacy of innovations and commitment to meet issues of nursing and health care. Florence Nightingale, for example, was highly educated, focused on a path of lifelong discovery, and dedicated to knowledge and science in the service of others. Her legacy created a better society.

Your individual nursing legacy is an integral part of the legacy of nursing. Reflect on how you want your nursing career to be remembered. Envision what you want to leave to the profession in the areas of practice, education, and research. Make a conscious decision to plan deliberately what your legacy will be, rather than just letting it happen.


Post a 3-paragraph response (of at least 350 words) to the following.

The 200thbirthday celebration of Florence Nightingale and the World Health Organization’s designation of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife created an exciting opportunity to elevate and empower nursing.
Describe a challenge in nursing. As a nurse leader, share at least two solutions to meet that specific challenge based on current proposals and/or inspiration derived from past nurse leaders’ expertise and experiences.
At least 3 references.
Meeting Challenges in Nursing Leadership: Drawing Inspiration from the Past to Shape the Future

As a nurse leader, you possess the power to influence and shape the nursing profession for the better. Reflecting on the legacies of distinguished nurses throughout history, such as Florence Nightingale, can provide valuable insights into addressing contemporary challenges in nursing. This response aims to outline a significant challenge in nursing and propose two solutions inspired by the expertise and experiences of past nurse leaders. By embracing innovative approaches and leveraging the wisdom of those who came before, you can contribute to a transformative impact on patient care and nursing practice.

Challenge: Workforce Shortages and Burnout
One of the pressing challenges in nursing today is the ongoing issue of workforce shortages and burnout. The demand for healthcare services continues to rise, while the nursing workforce struggles to keep pace. This strain places immense pressure on nurses, compromising their well-being and negatively impacting patient outcomes. Drawing inspiration from the legacy of Florence Nightingale, who emphasized the importance of quality education, training, and scientific knowledge, two potential solutions can be considered:

Solution 1: Enhancing Nurse Education and Training:
Investing in comprehensive and ongoing education and training programs for nurses is crucial to addressing workforce shortages. Nurse leaders can advocate for the development of initiatives that provide opportunities for professional growth and specialization. By fostering a culture of lifelong learning and continuous professional development, nurses can expand their skills and competencies, leading to improved patient care outcomes. Additionally, promoting mentorship programs and establishing partnerships with academic institutions can attract and retain a new generation of nurses.

Solution 2: Implementing Supportive Work Environments:
Creating supportive work environments is essential to mitigate burnout and improve nurse retention. Nurse leaders can draw inspiration from nurse leaders like Mary Eliza Mahoney, the first African American professional nurse, who championed equality and advocated for safe and supportive working conditions. Implementing strategies such as nurse-to-patient ratios, flexible scheduling, and promoting self-care initiatives can help alleviate burnout and improve job satisfaction. Emphasizing a culture of collaboration, recognition, and empowerment within healthcare organizations can foster a positive work environment that promotes the well-being of nurses and enhances patient care.

Nursing leaders have the unique opportunity to effect positive change within the profession. By addressing challenges like workforce shortages and burnout, nurse leaders can enhance patient care outcomes and shape the future of nursing. Drawing inspiration from the legacies of influential nurses, such as Florence Nightingale, and incorporating innovative solutions, like enhancing nurse education and training and implementing supportive work environments, you can leave a lasting legacy that contributes to the advancement of nursing practice. Through deliberate planning and purposeful actions, your individual nursing legacy can enrich the profession and improve healthcare for generations to come.


Alameddine, M., Baumann, A., Laporte, A., Deber, R., & McKee, M. (2016). The impact of nurse turnover on health outcomes: a systematic review. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48(5), 526-539.

Erickson, J. I., Duffy, M. E., Ditomassi, M., & Stokowski, L. (2016). The value of nursing care coordination: A white paper of the American Nurses Association. Nursing Outlook, 64(1), 44-56.

World Health Organization. (2020). Year of the nurse and midwife 2020. Retrieved from

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