Leadership in Nursing
LEADERSHIP IN NURSING
Leadership is a very important aspect of each and every field. In the medical and nursing field, this is a very key aspect and must be treated with the seriousness it deserves because it determines the outcomes of several things in the long run. For a department or hospital to be successful, there has to be a set of leaders in each department within the facility that keep the place running. These have to be a set of well-endowed persons with certain skills without which it is very difficult to achieve any goals.
As a leader especially in the nursing field, one will be in charge of life and death matters on several occasions and therefore these leaders have to have all that it takes. This is because in certain aspects such as those of emergencies, the leader will have to make very key and well informed decisions that will determine the outcome of the patient. Also, in the typical day to day activity, the leader has to ensure that the wards and clinics are running well and all the required drugs and instruments are well in place. Failure to which there might be several dire consequences both to the patient and perhaps even to the doctors. Leadership aspects also go beyond these medical situations.
There are those meetings that the nurse in charge or the leader at hand has to represent either the nurses or the team that he or she is in charge of. On these occasions, the leader has to conduct himself in a way that they will represent the desires of the other people being represented and at the same time make sure that the aspects of good administration are not lost in the process.
For these and several other reasons, a leader has to have several qualities failure of which it might be difficult to run a department. First and foremost, the leader has to have a heart of service to those he leads. As adequately discussed by Deb Harrison, a Chief Nursing Officer at Mayo Clinic. By doing this they will give inspiration to those they are leading and in turn will encourage teamwork. Most of the time in the medical field, team work is required, without which it might be very difficult to manage certain conditions. Decision making should also be consultative where possible. This will make the other members of the team feel like their decisions are needed and thus work better to achieve the best outcomes. His should be employed in several instances except when very key decisions are needed. It is in such situations that the decisions should be achieved after consultation from all the members working within the team. Another important aspect that cuts across all the individuals that were interviewed is humility.
Humility is a key aspect for any organization especially in the leaders of any system, this is reflected throughout a series of responses from the interviewees. For one to create a successful ecosystem they have to regard other members of the team as being better than them. This will enable them to take into consideration any opinions given by members of the team without disregarding them because of their position in the protocol or the entire of the organizational management of the hospital system.
It has previously been recorded in certain case reports where the utmost help to the patient came from a solution given by young students within the hospital system. With this regard, every individual’s opinion should be held highly without discrimination. This doesn’t mean that all opinions are great. It means that in as much as the leader seeks other opinions from the members of the team, he gets to decide authoritatively what the final decision for the entire group.
I concur strongly with several opinions shared by one of the faculty members at FSCJ, Jessie. In her opinion leadership is not about being the boss of a given team. It requires that one becomes a role model to the team members. By being a role model one is able to bring out the positive qualities that they want incorporated by their team members. This will also ensure that the unwanted features are weeded out. This is mainly because members of the team will largely emulate what they see being done by their senior who they look up to. This form of leadership ensures that the system runs smoothly since the members of the team will not be ordered around, on the contrary, they will be guided in a stepwise manner to do whatever is deemed fit by the management.
A good leader according to several interviewees has to be easily approachable. This will ensure adequate communication between them and members of the team. This in turn makes everyone feel at ease and reduces the amount of pressure that the team members may be having. The leader should be able to easily offer assistance where needed in a gentle manner. Most of the time the guidance needed is in the procedures, especially the medical procedures.
It is common knowledge that as one gets to do these procedures, they get to be better in the long run. Therefore, most of the time, the one in charge is often very good at these procedures. They should therefore offer training to those in the team about these procedures without scolding them by any means. With this in mind the members of the team can feel comfortable doing procedures even in the absence of the leader which is extremely helpful both to the leader and the team at large.
Florence Nightingale, one of the pioneers of the nursing practice had a set of principles through which she and the people she worked with exhibited exemplary leadership skills. Her qualities were emulated by Dr. Ruth Steihi and she uses her principles to guide her decision making. In her opinion, a good leader had to possess several key characteristics which in my opinion I find to be very correct. To begin with, a good leader has to have strong ethical codes. This means that they have to obey the code of ethics in whichever circumstances that they find themselves in. This will allow those following them to follow suit in their footsteps and hence prevent a breach of ethics. Next, good leaders should inspire change in all idea. Change may at times be a painful process but may be highly required in some circumstances. In such cases, the leader shouldn’t be afraid to make changes, no matter how drastic so long as they will take the team to greater heights and not disintegrate the team in the process.
The third and most important quality in being a leader is to enhance team building. For any team to be successful, there has to be a sense of unity and a feeling of belonging by the team members. This is a very key aspect and in one way or the other has been alluded to by several interviewees in different terms. She also expounded on the importance of qualities such as passion, compassion, communication and risk taking among several others. In her response she also talks about the importance of servant leadership and how it can propel one to very great heights.
She expounds that the passion one had at the very beginning should be present to the very end and should be incorporated even after one rises through ranks to become a leader. Leaders should also be compassionate just as the lady of the lamp was in the time. This can make one to become a great role model to their team members as had been alluded to by some of the interviewees. Communication is a very important aspect in any form of leadership. For things to run effectively communication has to be in a two way traffic manner. This ensures that members of the team understand each other effectively. This also allows for ironing out any form of misunderstanding that may arise in the team hence it encourages team work.
As one strives to obtain an effective team, they must not forget certain key aspects within leadership. To begin with, a leader has to set clear lines of authority. This means that in as much as the leader wants to ensure that they work as a team, clear boundaries have to be established. This divided the must not do qualities and prevents working in disarray where everyone does their will thinking that their opinions and explanations will be put into consideration. Next, a good leader has to ensure good use of the resources bestowed unto them. For instance, in as much as they would like to pass over their skills to the junior colleagues, they have to do this in a manner that will not deplete the resources they have in an effort to train the other members.
Another very important aspect in being a leader is to be good in all that you do. Many interviewees stated the importance of finding a field that one is passionate about and following this to the very end while rising within ranks in this field. Finding a field that one loves enables them to have passion in whatever they do and thus giving higher chances of doing the very best. It will also make them focus and spend the resources they have without wasting.
Good conflict resolution was also alluded to by most of the interviewees. In every team that works together, it gets to a point where conflicts may arise. This has to be sorted out in a tactful manner to avoid instances of misunderstanding between the members involved which they may interfere with the stability of the group. For this reason, a good leader should have good conflict resolution skills and if possible should prevent instances or occurrences of the conflicts themselves. The latter might be hard to achieve however, there are mechanisms that can be brought in place such as respect to personal space, respectful communication between colleagues and having a professional code of conduct. These may help limit the instance of conflict within the team. The professional code of conduct when followed by all the members of the team with limit the instances of conflict within the team and thus peace within the workplace can be achieved easily.
Honesty was a common virtue in almost all of the interviewees. A good leader has to be honest in all their dealings. This will ensure that in all they do, there are no lues or cover ups to begin with. It has been said that honesty is the best policy. In leadership I couldn’t agree most with this saying. An honest leader will bring forth an honest team which prevents several complications within the team at large. Being truthful and honest especially at the workplace prevents several misunderstandings that may arise due to dishonesty either by the leader or the members of the team. This will further encourage team work within the team members which is a highly required virtue for a well-functioning team.
An exemplary leader has to have a vision. In all one does, they have to have a vision of where they want to go, what they want to achieve and what they need to achieve their vision. With this in place, the leader can easily steer their team into great development and propel them to success. In every domain, whether clinical or academic or in the field of research, one has to have a good vision. With this in mind, the members of the team can be taken to a forward direction in all they desire. A good vision helps the leader to acquire all that they need in order to achieve their dream. This will guide him and his team in making the right steps towards making the team better. This response was also noted in most of the interviewees and in my opinion is therefore very key for any leader.
Leadership also comes with hard work. A good leader has to be dedicated and work hard towards achieving the team goal. This may require some form of sacrifice on certain occasions and they are therefore advised to take this into consideration when rising toward the steps to a leadership position. In certain instances the leaders may have to forego whatever they love most to ensure the team gets to its destination in the long run. This may be demoralizing in the initial instances but with dedication, the leader will always pull through with good rewards and returns in the long run. However, even in these instances they should remember not to be overindulged with their work and loose other key aspects in their lives. This ensures a balance between their work and other issues. A disarray in certain social aspects in their lives may cause difficulty in concentration within their workplace which may interfere with their decision making as leaders. As such, a balance has to be maintained between these two aspects of life.
Risk taking is a key quality in a good leader. One of the interviewees put it that without taking risks, one can never grow. Risk taking will ensure the leader sets his feet into depths that may at times be classified as unreachable by previous leaders in the same unit. This may enable them to expand their limits and even achieve satisfaction in unimaginable ways. These risks should be weighed to determine which extent one cannot go post and where they can get. This is because, when dealing with a patient and it’s a matter of life and death, at times taking risks is the best decision. However, in certain instances, it might not be. For these reason, even when striving to take risks, one must weigh the options and decide. Unless of course a life isn’t in danger at that moment.
Another important attribute that was alluded to was the need of continuous education. For one to progress, they have to learn progressively. Every single day research is being carried out and therefore treatment protocols are bound to change. Managerial skills are also bound to change with time. Because of this, there is a need to continue learning so as to increase one’s pool of knowledge. With these developing changes, leadership aspects are improved day by day. It is for this and several other reasons that a leader has to keep increasing their knowledge in the form of further diplomas, degrees among others. This attribute of leadership was discussed by around four of the interviewees and in my opinion it is very important. Continuous education goes a long way in ensuring better skills are nurtured both by the leader and his team at large. With the newly acquired knowledge, the leader is able to make changes in his team which will go a long way in improving their management and the overall organization of the team at large.
Another key aspect that has to be incorporated by a great leader is commitment. Any good leader has to be committed to their work and to whatever they do. Commitment goes hand in hand with dedication and with this the leader can easily achieve their goal. Commitment dictates that the leader puts his entire heart to whatever he sets to achieve. By so doing he does all it takes to see to it that he gets to their goal. This in several instances is often “Infectious” in that when the team members notice and appreciate the level of commitment by their leader, then they too will be committed to their work and therefore the total outcome of the entire team work will be great.
The final and most important quality of good leaders is that they have to carry themselves out with respect. They have to show respect both to their immediate colleagues and the junior ones. They have to be able to carry themselves out with total respect because without this they will not be respected by members of their team. This is achieved by having most of the attributes that have already been discussed above among several others. They have to be organized, have decorum and be respectful by all means. With all this in place, we will have exemplary leaders in all parts of the world which will bring great changes to the society.
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