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Friday, 30 May 2014 14:15

Nurse Leader Featured

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Nurse Leader


The increasingly changing and challenging healthcare environment calls for all healthcare professionals, including    nurses, to develop their leadership skills.  A leader can simply be defined ad a future orientated individual who is challenged by change and is able to make effective plans and strategies that drive the organization forward.  A leader has followers/subordinates whom he or she works with to achieve an organizational goal. Effective leadership skills ensure that nurses are able to deliver quality patient care and guarantees safe patient outcomes.


Effective leadership also enhances job satisfaction levels. This assignment focuses on the responses provided by a nurse leader. The interview focused on the nurse leader leadership style and challenges involved in being a leader in the healthcare sector. Nurse RF is an endoscopy nurse who is in charge of the endoscopy unit at the Regional Medical center hospital in Miami, Florida. RF is highly experienced and professional having held the leadership post for close to three years. RF strives to be a guide and ideal example to other nurses by ensuring that all patient care protocols are adhered to the letter. Her dedication and emphasis on quality patient care has seen her gain respects and recognition among her peers, as well as patients.


 Leadership Style

A leader must ensure that he or she adopts the ideal leadership style within the institution. An effective leadership style will guarantee that employees within the organization work towards the same goal. In a healthcare facility, the need for an appropriate leadership style is crucial as it determine the overall running of the facility. Nurse leaders must ensure they adopt a leadership style that fosters cooperation and the provision of quality patient care. The leadership style adopted by nurse leader RF is the relational leadership style.


            The relational leadership style emphasizes on bringing people together to work towards achieving a common goal. Nurse RF believes that the relationship leadership style is appropriate as it encourages leaders to bring employees to work in unity. The nursing profession is a teamwork rather than individual work. Nurses are expected to work together when handling patients, assigning medication or caring patients. Nursing involves a lot of interconnectivity among nurses hence the need for the spirit of teamwork rather than individualism. Relational leadership is inclusive and involves integration of other people’s ideas and point of views. As a leader RF engages her colleagues in discourse on suggestions and ideas on improving patients care (Malloy, & Penprase, 2010). All nurses get the opportunity to contribute and make input, which is then discussed and adopted.


Relational leaders also operate on the principal that all employees have something to offer/contribute if given a chance hence the leader encourages learning at the individual and team level. A relational leader also brings employees together and ensures there is a commitment towards a goal. In the nursing profession, for instance, the ultimate goal is to enhance patient care and ensure the delivery of quality healthcare services. Relational leaders are also ethical, and their functioning is based on the values and moral standards of what are right. Overall, a relational leader focuses on establishing strong collaborations and relationships within the workplace. A Relational leader thus appeals to his or her colleague’s emotions and beliefs in order to form strong bonds and relationships.


 Changes in Leadership style

The evolving leadership role in nursing has seen current nurses modify their leadership style and adopt receptive styles such as the transformational style of leadership. RF has integrated principles of transformational leadership to her leadership role. Transformational leadership involves nudging followers to be creative and think of effective strategies that can be implemented so as to improve performance. In the nursing profession, the need for improvement of quality is constant hence the need to encourage nurses to be innovative and suggest ways to improve patient care. Under the transformational leadership, emphasis will not be only adhering to set rules and the status quo, but establishing new ways of performing different tasks (Crosby, & Shields, 2010).


Transformational leadership also involves offering support to followers. A leader can foster a positive relationship with his followers if he genuinely shows concern for his followers. A transformation leader can also open the channels of communication and encourage his followers to share their ideas sand contributions. A transformational leader must make his subordinates feel worthy. In nursing practice, transformational leadership is mandatory as it ensures that a leader is flexible to the changing face of healthcare management. The transformational leader is also a role model and a source of inspiration to his followers. In nursing practice, the leader should demonstrate a high level of commitment, as a deep set of values and ideas that followers admire and desire to emulate.


 Challenges

The healthcare industry has changed significantly in the past decade. The continuing changes pose numerous challenges to leaders who have to find ways to accommodate these changes. As a nurse leader, the main challenge that RF has faced is staff constraints. The issues of nurse shortage have been an overbearing burden in the healthcare industry for many decades.  Nurses are overworked as there is hardly any department within a single facility that has adequate nurses.


Nurses have had to work extra hours so as to cover for shortages. Unfortunately, the continued overwork and nurse shortage in healthcare facilities demoralizes interested students from taking nursing as a profession. Nurses’ shortage is a critical issue that can interfere with the quality of services that patients receive.Nurses are also at risk of fatigue, burnout and sleep deprivation which can further hamper their ability to be productive. There is a need for nurse leaders to a source of inspiration and motivation for leaders (Hintea2006). Nurse leaders must work with available nurses to build a strong force that is still able to offer quality services despite shortages.


Older and experienced nurses should also act as a role model to the new nurses who are yet comprehend the profession. Most new nurses give up due to lack of on-the-job training, which affects their self esteem and confidence levels. A nurse leader should ensure that new nurses get adequate on the job training and guidance. This will motivate them and encourage them to stay on as nurses. A nurse leader, together with his followers must create a duty roster, which will ensure that work is evenly distributed across the available nurses. Distribution of work minimizes the risk of fatigue, burnout and stress related illnesses (Sanford, 2010).Another significant challenge in the nursing profession involves the development of future nurse leaders.


It has become increasingly difficult to find and mould future nurse leaders. This is attributed to factors such as nurse shortages that see healthcare facilities work with very few nurses. The few nurses are unable find time to train and become nurse leaders due to their busy schedules (Crosby, & Shields, 2010). The lack of motivation and morale due to work overload further puts off most nurses from taking leadership positions. Additionally, the nurse-pool is aging, and the young generation is not keen to take up nursing a profession. This means that there are many nurses who are nearing the retirement age and very few young nurses. There is a need for nurse leaders to provide direction to the available nurses.


 Formal and Informal Power

Formal power refers to the actual authority that, different leaders within an organization hold. There positions and responsibilities are recognized by management, which provides an elaborate organizational chart. The organizational chart demonstrates the positions held, duties and power held by each leader. The organizational chart also demonstrates who each leader is in charge of and which superior leader he is answerable to. Informal power, on the other hand, refers to power that originate from influence. An individual can have informal power and be able to lead and exert authority among his colleagues.


In any healthcare facility, there exists formal and informal power (Hintea, 2006). Persons with formal power such as nurse leader are charged with the duty of overseeing other nurses within their department. As the formal leaders, it is the responsibility of the nurse leaders to ensure that all followers perform their duties as required. Formal power thus gives the organization some form of guidance and direction ensuring that all subordinates work towards achieving a common goal.Informal power, on the other hand, is dominant in healthcare organizations.


In nursing practice, for instance, informal power is seen among nurses that have experience and exposure in the profession. With experience, these nurses are able to handle different challenging situations that may arise within the department. The experienced nurses are also a source of inspiration to new nurses who are inexperienced and need the guidance of professionals (Malloy, & Penprase, 2010). The formation of groups within a facility can also lead to the rise of informal powers. Nurses, for instance, form groups among themselves. The nurses use these groups to share their grievances, concerns and views. It is the responsibility of formal nurse leaders to reach out to these nurses and form lasting relationships based on understanding and making the nurses’ work environment right.


 Conclusion

 Effective nursing leadership style is mandatory for the delivery of quality healthcare services to patients. Effective nursing leadership also ensures that nurses work in an environment that fosters positive development, motivating and growth. Leaders who integrate relational leadership styles with transformational mode of leadership are able to witness increased motivation at work, job satisfaction, self-confidence, low employee turnover and improved work performance.


 Reference

Crosby, F. & Shields, C. (2010). Preparing the next generation of nurse leaders: An educational needs assessment. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 41(8), 363

Hintea, C. (2006).  Leadership and management in healthcare systems. Transylvanian review of administrative sciences. P89-104

Malloy, T. & Penprase, B. (2010). Nursing leadership style and psychosocial work environment. Journal of Nursing Management, 18(6), 715-725. Doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2010.01094.x

Sanford, K. (2010). Overview of nursing leadership. Chapter 1. Catholic health initiative


 

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