An opinion leader is someone who is well respected, experienced, and patient (Hamric, Hansen, Tracy, & O’Grady, 2014, p. 277). This is a person who leads by example and is seen as leader because of the qualities they possess not by the position they hold. An opinion leader is often sought out by others for their advice and expertise (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 277).
I see many characteristics of an opinion leader in myself. I have always been committed to continuing education and have attended several conferences and continuing education seminars. Due to this many of the nurses that I work with are eager to hear what I have learned in these conferences. My peers trust my clinical judgement and skills and often seek out my advice or my help with difficult skills. I feel I also show characteristics of an opinion leader when educating the certified nurse aids (CNAs). The CNAs I work with respond more effectively when I take my time to educate them why something is important rather than just telling them to do a task.
An example of a time that I felt I was acting as an opinion leader was after attending an in-service put on by our local pharmacy. At that in-service, I learned that the use of Diphenhydramine in elderly patients drastically increases the risk of falls (J. Krichner, personal communication, January 21, 2015). Prior to this in-service, myself and the other nurses I worked with would routinely ask physicians for orders for Acetaminophen with Diphenhydramine when patients were having difficulties sleeping. After sharing this information with my peers all of the nurse stopped requesting Acetaminophen with Diphenhydramine as a first request to the physicians as a sleep aid. This continuing education allowed myself to make an important change to better care for my patients.
Hamric, A. B., Hanson, C. M., Tracy, M. F., & O’Grady, E. (2014). Advanced practice nursing:
an integrative approach (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders.