Building Stronger Bonds: The Power of Nursing Communities

This article is co-written by our Nursing Experience Project Senior Advisors, Bob Dent, DNP, RN, FAAN and Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN.


Of all the consequences of the pandemic, the one that gets the least attention is the disruption in our nursing community itself. Faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges of financial pressures, staffing shortages, workplace violence, new technologies, and more, it’s only natural to experience emotions like apathy, frustration, anger, and confusion. Without a sense of community; nurses are left floundering on their own, navigating without a safety net.  In this context, let’s explore the ways in which creating or participating in nursing communities can serve as a beacon of positivity, guiding us through these tumultuous times.


Connection Amidst Chaos

A sense of community fosters connection and camaraderie among nurses. It offers a platform to share experiences, celebrate victories, and seek support during trying times. When nurses unite, they can draw strength from one another’s stories and strategies, helping them face the daily challenges of their profession with resilience.


Sharing Knowledge, Enriching Care

Nurse communities serve as vibrant hubs of knowledge exchange. Seasoned nurse leaders can share their wisdom, while newer nurses benefit from practical insights. This exchange enhances the overall quality of patient care as fresh ideas and time-tested practices merge to create a comprehensive approach to meet the current and future demands in healthcare.


Empowering Leadership

Nurse leaders play a pivotal role in shaping healthcare. A community provides a psychologically safe space to share leadership skills, insights, and innovative ideas. Collaborative problem-solving within such a network helps nurse leaders grow, adapt, and create positive change within their organizations.


Stress Relief and Well-Being

Nursing is emotionally demanding, which can lead to burnout and stress. Being part of a community offers an outlet for nurses to vent their feelings and seek advice on maintaining their well-being. The shared experiences create a sense of belonging and understanding, reducing feelings of isolation.


Educational Growth

Communities offer a learning platform beyond textbooks. Nurse leaders can organize workshops, webinars, and discussions on emerging healthcare trends. This continual education keeps nurses updated and motivated to enhance their skills, which in turn benefits patient outcomes.

Here are some suggestions for creating or engaging in communities for nurses and nurse leaders:

  1. Online Forums: Nurse-focused online platforms can connect nurses globally, providing a space to share stories, seek advice, and offer support. The Nursing Experience Project (NEP) has just the capacity to make this happen within any organization.
  1. Peer Mentorship Programs and Executive Coaching: Establish mentorship programs where experienced nurse leaders guide newer nurses, fostering professional growth. Allow nurse leaders to have access to a qualified executive coach.
  1. Local Networking Events: Arrange meet-ups or workshops for nurses in the same region, encouraging face-to-face interactions and knowledge sharing. Recently, we learned from Kari Koehler, Chief Nursing Officer at St. Peter’s Health in Montana, that CNOs from across the state get together regularly to talk through challenges CNOs in the state are having.
  1. Resource Sharing: Create a digital repository of educational resources, research articles, and best practices accessible to all members. Engaging in professional associations (i.e., ANA, AACN, AONL, etc.), reviewing the literature associated with one’s specialty, and sharing with other colleagues can create a stronger learning and professional practice environment.
  1. Health and Wellness Initiatives: Organize wellness challenges, stress-relief workshops, and mental health support sessions to promote nurse well-being. In an email exchange with a physician leader, he advocated for a “high-quality lounge on each floor” that would “send a message of respect,” improving their breaks that enhance collegiality and a sense of community.

Creating nursing communities may have a profound impact on nurses, nurse leaders, and patient care. By fostering connections, sharing knowledge, and nurturing well-being, these communities could elevate the healthcare profession to new heights of excellence. As we cultivate these networks, we strengthen the foundation upon which compassionate and effective healthcare rests.

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