Leadership is one of the critical competencies that nurses should have as they prepare to advance their careers. Nurse leaders play an essential role in determining the quality of care given to patients as they carry the vision of the facility where they work. In addition, such individuals act as advocates for other nurses, patients, and the profession. Nurse leaders are also expected to work with diverse teams, and thus the appropriate leadership style should be exercised for the achievement of the set objectives. The person chosen for this assignment is a nurse leader at a cardiac rehabilitation unit in a particular hospital in the region. This paper discusses the details of an interview that was conducted with this said individual.
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The interviewee has been a nurse for ten years since 2009, when she became a registered nurse (RN) after completing her first degree in nursing. She then advanced her career by earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) before getting her license to become an advanced practice nurse (APN). She has worked in her current position for the last 18 months, but she has been a nurse leader for three years now. When an opening for a leadership position came up, she was ready and prepared to take the chance, given her experience and academic qualification. The post was highly competitive because over five candidates with the same credentials had applied. However, she secured the job due to her outstanding leadership skills, which had been developed in her previous position.
The nurse leader in question practices a democratic leadership style. However, her view of this form of leadership has evolved with time. When she started working as a nurse leader, she employed the autocratic style, but she slowly learned that it was counterproductive. According to her, she would make all the decisions before giving orders and directions to the rest of the team members. Other nurses were not even required to air their views concerning different issues happening within the workplace. However, she soon realized that team morale dropped, communication was broken, and she earned distrust from the rest of the nurses.
Therefore, she started exploring other leadership styles and ultimately settled on democracy as one of the best options available, especially in nursing. According to Sfantou et al. (2017), the type of leadership style adopted in any nursing set-up contributes significantly to the quality of care offered to patients. The interviewee cared a lot about patient safety, and thus after reading extensively on the democratic leadership style, she adopted and implemented it immediately. She argues that after changing her approach to leadership, she started noticing better results within one week. The nurse leader says that democracy in the workplace allows all members to participate in decision-making. Even though she has to have the final say, she considers the input and feedback from the rest of the team members. Consequently, all people feel valued, and thus they give their best, which ultimately leads to improved care outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Essential Characteristics of Effective Leadership
The interviewee believes that effective leadership is a function of different core characteristics that work in harmony to achieve the desired results. Top on her list is honesty and integrity. She argues that without these attributes, real success cannot be achieved. In essence, leaders cannot expect their followers to uphold specific values without leading by example. This assertion introduces the second characteristic – a role model. According to the respondent, nurse leaders should lead by example because it is easier to influence behavior through actions than words alone. Leaders succeed by sticking to their core values and beliefs, which sets an excellent model for others to follow. She also believes that an effective leader should inspire his or her team members. She recalls a time when her floor was experiencing mounting workloads without getting additional resources to accomplish the same. In a bid to address the situation as a leader, she had to stay calm and inspire other nurses to give their best by leading by example.
The respondent argues that influential leaders should show commitment and be passionate about their work. Followers typically look at the leader to draw inspiration and decide the level of dedication that is required from them. Therefore, one has to be passionate and committed to his or her work for the led to pick the same attributes and execute their duties enthusiastically. Other characteristics that the respondent associates with effective leadership include good communication skills, the ability to make proper and timely decisions, accountability, capacity to delegate and empower, creativity, and innovation. Notably, she notes that being empathetic goes a long way in creating strong teams.
The interviewee claims that one of her essential desires is to nurture other nurses to become leaders in their different areas of operation. Therefore, to achieve this goal, she usually organizes training programs for her team members to gain the requisite skills in a bid to grow their leadership capabilities. The programs cover areas such as conflict management, developing personal traits (innovation, listening, and empathy), personal growth, career advancement, and the ability to build teams. The second strategy that she uses is to involve other nurses in the decision-making process. According to her, this aspect allows the involved individuals to become accountable for patient outcomes, experience equity in the organization, build partnerships, and have a sense of ownership of everything that happens in the workplace. Finally, she has created a system whereby her team members can receive and give continuous feedback concerning all the happenings in the workplace. This approach keeps the workers engaged, motivated, and confident.
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The nurse under question has faced numerous challenges in her journey to become an experienced leader. The primary issue is to ensure employee engagement and motivation, especially during this time when understaffing is a common phenomenon in the nursing practice. She posits that it is challenging to motivate overworked individuals even in cases with attractive monetary gains. Kaur and Gujral (2017) argue that burnout, which is usually associated with overworking, is one of the leading factors that demoralize nurses in practice. Additionally, the respondent notes that she faces the challenge of a lack of innovation and creativity among team members. The current workplace is dynamic, and nurses should be prepared to adapt to the changing environment as a way of ensuring improved quality care and patient outcomes.
Findings from the Interview
The claims made by the interviewee are in line with findings found in the literature review concerning the characteristics associated with the democratic leadership style. According to Asamani, Naab, and Ofei (2016), leadership is a critical element in nursing, and the adopted style determines the success of nurse managers in different capacities. This assertion supported the interviewee’s observation when she realized that her authoritarian approach was demoralizing to other workers. After she changed to democracy, she noted improved relationships with her subordinates. According to Mianda and Voce (2017), the democratic leadership style is one of the best, especially in nursing, where building relationships with team members plays a central role in the overall success of care delivery. The nurse leader in question confirmed this assertion when she started exercising this form of leadership and realized a change in the attitude of teammates. Democratic leadership allows nurse managers to exercise charismatic power, like in this case whereby the interviewee inspires her team members to achieve the set goal despite the challenges that may arise along the way.
The interview with the said nurse leader is an eye-opener for nurses seeking to advance their careers in the profession. Interacting with the interviewee highlights the adverse effects that some leadership styles, such as authoritarianism, may have on the quality of care delivered to patients. Nurses should work as a team for improved patient outcomes. Moving forward, the future approach as a nurse leader should be guided by the realization that subordinates give their best when they feel appreciated and valued. Managers should engage their team members in decision-making and consider their feedback before settling on how things should be done in the workplace. This interview has an enormous impact on the future career of any aspiring nurse leader. In addition, it is essential to remember to be empathetic to other members as teams work towards contributive goals for improved patient safety, outcomes, and satisfaction.
Asamani, J. A., Naab, F., & Ofei, A. M. A. (2016). Leadership styles in nursing management: Implications for staff outcomes. Journal of Health Sciences, 6(1), 23-36.
Mianda, S., & Voce, A. S. (2017). Conceptualizations of clinical leadership: A review of the literature. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 9, 79-87. Web.
Kaur, M. N., & Gujral, H. K. (2017). The workload on nurses and its impact on patient care. IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science, 6(5), 22-26.
Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki-Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017). Importance of leadership style towards the quality of care measures in healthcare settings: A systematic review. Healthcare, 5(4), 73-90. Web.