What Is Nurse Leadership and Why Is It Important?

Leadership is essential in nursing profession just as it is in other professions. Therefore, the nursing body should produce visionary leaders who should also portray good leadership qualities including being inspiring, courageous, risk takers, innovative and accommodative among other qualities. These kinds of leaders should be appointed to the governing boards and councils in hospitals to fulfill the desires of nurses and to promote nursing as a profession. According to The Canadian Nursing Association (2010), nursing executives must “sit at senior decision-making tables and be delegated with authority and resources to realize a vibrant, safe, and innovative nursing practice” (p. 2).

The core function of nursing is to protect life and provide care for sick people in the society. This care is needed from birth, infancy, teenage age, adulthood, and old age. However, it does not happen naturally to all people mainly because nursing cuts across all genders, ages, cultures, and religions. The difference in behavior and thinking across these groups requires substantial knowledge from humanities, natural and behavioral sciences in order to deliver a holistic service to clients. According to the Royal College of Nursing, this will empower nurses to provide wholesome care to enable patients to improve, maintain, or recover their health, cope with healthy problems, and achieve quality of life they desire (Clark et al., 2003, p. 3). Psychology is a subject that I learnt earlier in my course, which has enabled me to deal with clients from diverse backgrounds. This is mainly due to the fact that it presents theories that lean towards behavioral science in nature. This has also allowed me understand human behaviour in relation to leadership in health care and nursing.

Exploration and Analysis

In order to advance in nursing profession, it is important to synthesize and apply knowledge from other fields of study such as Leadership, Humanities, Nursing, Sciences, Economics, Statistics, Healthy sciences, Environmental studies, Psychology, and Information Technology among other disciplines. This synthesized knowledge enables us to derive nursing terminal objectives that are very important to nursing profession across the globe.

These terminal objectives include application of leadership concepts in the nursing profession, incorporation of evidence-based findings to come up with a plan strategy that can address health problems in the society, demonstration of clinical judgment in the nursing profession, and utilization of emerging information systems by embracing Information Technology to design and implement care initiatives. Others include integration of professional standards and Nursing law into the nursing profession, analyzing healthy policies by taking into account the space of clients, stakeholders, and nurses, and dealing effectively with cultural divide posed in the nursing field. The incorporation of these terminal objectives can greatly contribute to the advancement of nursing profession. To understand these terminal objectives better, each objective is elaborated on its own in the following section.

Application of leadership concepts in the nursing profession

As noted earlier, leadership is crucial in nursing just as in any other profession. Well-empowered nurses with vision and mission can influence and inspire others to achieve a noble task that is far bigger than any one individual is. My emulated servant leadership has inspired other members of staff to post an envious remarkable performance that is so much inspiring to the entire nursing profession. Frontline nurse leaders are responsible for decision-making not only related to patient care, but also those that will affect staff and daily operations (Wicker, 2008, p. 15). According to the contingency model, a nurse manager should modify situations based on group relations, personal power, and task structure to improve staff productivity (Cherie & Gebrekidan, 2005). The nurse leader should also demonstrate knowledge of similarities between leadership and management, and the difference between them by putting the two into practice. All types of leaders accomplish their works through people, thus the core reason as to why nurse leaders should also be conversant with human relations as well as have conceptual and technical skills.

Incorporation of evidence-based findings and demonstration of clinical judgment to come up with a plan strategy that can address health problems in the society

Statistical knowledge can be integrated into the nursing practice through evidence-based practice and research. A concise design is then developed in the process that helps in implementing nursing practice projects. Wicker (2008) found out that, by using descriptive statistics, mean scores can be used to identify differences on how nurses perceive their individual competencies and behaviors after having completed leadership education (p. 15). Cherie and Gebrekidan (2005) also noted that during the Crimean war, Nightingale had reported statistics on mortality of British soldiers in comparison to civilians before and after some of her innovative nursing practices (p. 260). Evidence-based nursing leadership utilizes a variety of contemporary leadership and managerial theories as its conceptual foundation (Macphee & Bouthillette, 2008, p. 74). Therefore, nurses need to continuously update their knowledge and act from an evidence-based approach, rather than practice wisdom (Doody & Doody, 2011).

Evidence-based approaches can be used to improve efficiency, safety, and cost of care delivery to counter challenges and take advantage of opportunities presented to hospitals’ chief executive officers (Hendrich, & Chow, 2008, p.3). In addition, evidence-based approaches produce a well-informed, highly motivated professionals and empowered nurses who are eager to deliver patient care with greater effectiveness (Frankel, 2010). By incorporating statistical evidence-based approaches into the nursing practice, a strategic plan can be arrived at, which can address health problems both in the rural and urban areas.

Embracing emerging information systems by utilizing Information Technology to design and implement care initiatives

In the last two decades, which coincides with the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century, there have been tremendous advances in innovation and technology, especially in the Information Technology (IT) sector. Many professions, most of them non-IT-oriented, have embraced information systems that come with IT innovations and posting remarkable results. There are marjory three types of information systems namely, transaction processing systems (TPS), management information systems (MIS) and Expert or Decision-making Information systems (DMIS). They can be used to capture, manipulate, store, display, and make decisions based on the data obtained from the information systems. This enables nurses to accurately deal with data of any size and variety.

Personally, the clinical management system that I employ has significantly reduced the amount of time that I use to serve my clients due to its efficient retrieval nature. It has also helped me to order and organize files of my clients in an efficient manner. Moreover, complex tasks once only executed by a highly trained provider can now be completed through robotics and information systems.

Clinical informational systems and the standardized healthcare language have demonstrated government’s modernization agenda that shall finally unify the nursing profession in the UK (Clark et al., p.12). This clearly demonstrates the importance and the usefulness of the information systems in nursing profession.

Integration of Nursing professional standards and law into the nursing profession

Every profession has some professional standard to characterize it. It is more frequently attached to some legal elements that make it formal. These are actually the laws that govern its operation and conduct of its members. Primarily, healthcare laws identify great challenges in primary care, management of chronic conditions, prevention and wellness, and prevention of adverse events such as hospital-acquired infections.

While applying nursing professional standards that I acquired in my leaning, I have set an example that I expect others to emulate and follow. I spend some of my time to ascertain whether those whom I am working with live up to the standards that I have set. By setting clear professional standards, you give a chance to your team to exactly know what to expect of them in terms of time-keeping, quality of work, and safety rules (Cherie & Gebrekidan, 2005).

These standards highlight the importance of collaboration, communication, accountability, and recognition of the role of nursing (Hendrich, & Chow, 2008, p.3). Therefore, this clearly demonstrates that the set professional standards provide a legal framework in nursing profession. These professional standards and the incorporated laws bind all practicing nurses as well as those who anticipate joining the profession, who must also agree to adhere to these before starting to practice.

Analyzing healthy policies by taking into account the space of the clients, stakeholders and nurses

A policy is a standing plan and an instrument of delegation. It provides clear guidelines through which management conveys its thinking towards taking action consistent with reaching organizational goals. Through it, the management can alert subordinates to their obligations (Cherie & Gebrekidan, 2005, p. 55). This is one of the formal ways through which communication can flow from above to those down in the organizational hierarchy. It is through these formulated policies that a client enters into engagement of service with nurses, with a clear expectation of end results. Cherie & Gebrekidan (2005) continue to argue in their lecture notes on Nursing Leadership and Management by quoting Sullivan (1992) that, “unless definite policies are established, the system may fail and changes in the nursing practice are not likely to occur” (Cherie & Gebrekidan, 2005, p. 266).

Positive change can only occur in nursing profession by drafting and implementing sound policies that take into account the client, stakeholders and nurses. As many stakeholders as possible should be involved in the process (Clark et al., 2003, p. 11).

Implications for Nursing Practice

The terminal objectives of nursing discussed above lay down the framework of what to expect from a professional nurse. These terminal objectives go hand in hand with the expected typical leadership in nursing. In order to achieve all these objectives, there must be an inspiring and strong visionary leader in the ranks of nursing leadership who should be allowed to sit at the decision-making tables of the committee of the hospital. While there, he/she has a forum to air grievances of nurses and to push for the realization of their demands. This accelerates growth of the nursing profession. Nurses are empowered in the process to deliver services of high quality through motivation they get from their inspiring, visionary, and courageous leader.

Setting professional standards and laws guiding them develops a nurse professionally. He/she is always aware when to act, how and to which extent in order to preserve, maintain, and improve the lives of those under his/her care. In addition, he/she develops an awareness of what information to derive from those under his/her care, and never to divulge the acquired information to any unauthorized third party in the process. These ethical practices should be carried on throughout the entire lifespan of the nurse. In the long run, they help to develop the nurse professionally and at the same time, molding his/her ethical and moral life.

Nursing should synthesize and incorporate knowledge from various fields of study for it to grow as a profession. It is a proven fact that every established profession has incorporated knowledge from a diverse range of fields. Nursing must also incorporate knowledge from pertinent fields of study. Nurses are brought to light by the wide array of knowledge before them, and are better prepared to provide the required patient care, thus enabling them make decisions informed decisions in their profession.

Lessons Learnt from Analysis

It is possible to manage a culturally diverse population through application of nursing leadership and mentorship. The inter-disciplinary approach applied sheds a lot of light of what to expect from different people across cultural divide. The knowledge from humanities, natural and behavioral sciences provides sufficient insight on how people behave and what to expect from them. This enables nurses to provide quality service to all people regardless of their background.

Recommendations and Conclusion

It can be recommended that leadership skills developed in the process should be used in nursing practice to advance and better the nursing profession. It is also worth to recommend that nurses should use their synthesized knowledge from various fields of study to produce an amazing experience in the nurse-patient relationships.

Finally, it can be concluded that nurse leadership and nursing critical objectives are closely inter-linked; thus they inherently qualify any practicing nurse to be a leader of his/her own kind to those under him/her.

References

Cherie, A., & Gebrekidan, A. B. (2005). Nursing Leadership and management. Web.

Clark, D. J. (2003). Defining Nursing. Royal college of Nursing. Web.

Doody, O. & Doody, C. M. (2011). Transformational leadership in nursing practice. Journal of Nursing, 21(20):1212-4, 1217-8.

Hendrich, A. & Chow, M. (2008). Maximizing the Impact of Nursing Care Quality: A closer look at the hospital work, Environment and the nurse’s impact on patient care quality. Web.

Macphee, M., & Bouthillette, F. (2008). Developing Leadership in Nurse Managers: The British Columbia Nursing Institute. Nursing Leadership, 21(3): 64-75.

The Canadian Nursing Association (2010). Nursing Leadership – Canadian Nurses Association. Web.

Wicker, T. L. (2008). Self-Report Of Nursing Leadership Practice after Completion of Training. Web.

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