Publication date: Feb 01, 2024
This study aimed to describe the experiences of nurse leaders during the 1st wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance understanding in preparation for future disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to the healthcare system globally. Nurse leaders play an essential part and have a significant impact on the efficacy of disaster management in future emergent situations. The parent study conducted interviews with 100 nurses in the United States across specialty areas. This article presents a subgroup analysis of interview data from 13 self-identified nurse leaders. The research team used qualitative descriptive methodology and thematic analysis to identify patterns within the data. Five themes were identified for effective nurse leadership during an emerging pandemic: 1) responsiveness; 2) anticipating needs; 3) care innovations; 4) collaboration; and 5) adaptability. Supporting nurse leaders to exhibit effective leadership during periods of crisis is imperative to increase preparedness for future health events, protect population health, and create a pipeline of future nursing leadership. Involving nursing in developing and reforming policy is integral.