Effective nursing practice counts as one of the most significant factors that lead to achievement of positive patients’ outcomes. It comprises a series of attributes, expertise, and characteristics that relate to guiding a team or an organization towards its goals. The National Health Service (NHS) fundamental objective emphasizes on quality care in the health sector. Patients cannot receive high level of quality care without good leadership. The relationship that exists between a leader and the people working under him defines leadership. The impacts of leadership are evident in many aspects in the health context. The act of leadership determines the mortality rates, nurse and patient’s satisfaction levels, financial status in a health setting, and quality care. Effective leadership is generated when all clinical professionals are seen as leaders. They are free to deliberate on issues, decide on their own, and lead themselves to promote quality care. This essay purpose to discuss effective leadership and its importance in the nursing practice.
Communication and Effective Leadership
Effective nursing practice entails inspiring and managing other people to focus on the institutional goals. Communication is a vital aspect that all nurses must use because everyone should participate in the realization of successful results. Productive communication reflects on the healthcare level due to working as a team. Proper communication strategies aids in effective leadership. The language that a leader chooses to talk to the other staff at different situations (Logos) impacts to the employee performance. Other features that constitute effective communication include; message relevance, ability to listen to others, and the work relationship. A good leader should consider the results and costs of every conversation to create room for improvement. Effective leadership aids to the success of patient care at all times.
Leaders that believe in efficient work should listen to the team’s views and opinions from the start to the end without interrupting them. The patient feels valued because the nurse has taken interest in his say. Communication should not only between nurse leaders but also across other staff and patients. An effective nursing practictioner needs to understand the patient irrespective of the difficulty the patient is going through. For example, a patient who cannot talk can use gestures to show where he is ailing. A nurse leader can assess the patient’s body language to determine the extent healthcare that the patient requires (Henderson, 2015). An effective leader should avoid complex medical terms when caring for patients to help them understand their condition at all angles.
Leadership with effective communication influences staff’s performance and build strong relationships between the team members. NICE (2016) emphasizes on the need for good communication to increase the level of quality care since the relations between patients and nurses have a key effect on the patients’ outcomes. For example, when a nurse leader fails to understand the patient’s language, it is possible to make medical errors that limits the quality of care given to the patient. Effective leadership should ascertain the best type of communication to use depending on patient assessment. Non-verbal communication skills aid effective communication since the signals relay accurate message compared to verbal communication. Effective nursing practice demands for leaders to observe the patient’s facial expressions, posture, errors in speech, tone while speaking, and eye contact. It helps to make better decisions and project any problems that may emerge. Any patient or healthcare staff should be treated personally with respect to build teamwork that is essential in leadership. Appropriate communication acts as the foundation of effective leadership. Examining it in detail will improve work relations and provide quality healthcare services that are patient-centered.
Qualities of an Effective Leader
The ability to recognize, evaluate, and control self-emotions and other people’s feelings is important for effective leadership. It plays a crucial role in patient’s care and when a leader manages situations. A leader should be aware of his emotions before dealing the others.’ He must be able to identify emotions by assessing the physical signs and note the behaviors that determine the feelings. A leader should empathize by being sensitive to the patient of staff’s needs and attending to them either emotional or physical needs (AL-Dossary, 2016). A leader with high emotional intellect develops strong relationships and easily solves problems that may be present between the members.
A leader who cannot identify and control his emotions is likely to make wrong decisions that influence patient outcomes. For example, a nurse attending to a patient with individual perceptions may misunderstand the patient of the neutral point of view and treat the patient using the wrong diagnosis. The bias patient care can lead to the death of the patient or worsen his condition. A leader with safe-awareness of his emotions stands at a higher level of connecting freely with other people and come to an understanding. The leader can differentiate the responses of others without basing them on his feelings. Stress remains a major issue of concern among health professionals. The leaders focused on emotional intelligence can help to monitor the emotional condition of the healthcare staff to establish immediate strategies to curb stress and anxiety. They can also initiate support mechanisms to prevent burnout.
Effective leadership includes integrity as an essential quality to attaining excellent patient outcome in healthcare. Health organizations with the leadership that has strong ethics provides quality services through skilled professionals. The behavior of a leader determines the organization’s reputation. A healthcare leader should be trusted, tell the truth, and reliable. Leaders that have integrity act as examples of what they say. For example, if one of the organizational rules is to fight corruption, the leader has to remain true and enhance transparency. He should not favor a staff or a patient by getting something in return. Good leaders must accept their own mistakes and work to rectify them. Some leaders tend to blame their faults to their team, form excuses, and even hide the mistakes. An honest leader follows each of the organization’s policies and procedures and manages the institution’s resources well to ensure the production of positive results.
Nurse leaders with integrity are beneficial not only to themselves but also the whole organization. AL-Dossary (2016) states that integrity increases to the general employees’ performance in the workplace. Since the junior staff look up to their leader as an example, they will adopt his behavior. For instance, when their leader comes to work daily, they will also be present with low levels of absentees who have genuine reasons. They can also assist others in tight work schedules and long hours without complain. The healthcare staff can work harder and provide quality care to the patients. On the other hand, the organization put its loyalty the leaders because they have exercised integrity. The leaders’ reports prove their integrity, which fosters trust that is necessary to develop employee satisfaction. A nursing practice with leaders of integrity raises patient-centred care to higher margins.
The leaders who want to practice effective leadership should have integrity by auditing themselves. They need to put others first before themselves and analyze how the healthcare staff sees them. They should treat the people above and below them such as the supervisors and the junior staff with fairness. The decisions and actions of leaders with integrity can shape organization’s values and culture as well as behavior. Integrity generates friendship and commitment within and between teams due to trust.
Transformational Changes and Awareness
Many organizations have transformed their operations due to development of technology. NCBI (2004) explains that the healthcare sector has to adopt numerous changes to provide efficient care services to the patients. The change can only be possible if the leaders are flexible to the transformations. Implementing the changes should be equipped to improve patient safety and quality care. The shift in technology comes with several new opportunities and costs. Some nurses may decide to resign from the practice or stay but work towards the unknown. Providing healthcare services under these circumstances may lead to poor performance that risks the patients’ lives. A good leader should be vigilant to identify the challenges and strategize effective methods to deal with them for successful care delivery.
Leaders must embrace uncertainty within and outside the organization. The changes in management should be communicated in detail to subordinate nurses to ensure that they work together as a team. Advancement in health attributable to technology has led to the adoption of transformational leadership management style. Trust among the professionals, integrity, motivation, offering support, and attending to individual needs enables nurses to care for their patients while making the changes required. Leaders form clear objectives and the road map towards achieving the goals. Nurse inspiration and respect are actions that make it easy to initiate changes. Transformational leadership applies when the budgets of healthcare are cut and the institution is experiencing straining on finances. Changing the organizational policies also calls for transformational leadership.
Many nurses advocate for transformational leadership rather than transactional leadership style. Employees that work under transformational leadership feel cared for since most of their needs are met. Through guidance, they can be creative and make independent decisions that help to promote quality patient care. The nurses handle their patients the way they treated with respect and commitment.
Importance of Effective Leadership
High Quality Patient Care
Improved patient outcome can only be achieved through effective leadership that include collaboration and cooperation of healthcare professionals. A nurse leader creates unity among the team members for everyone to speak the same language concerning caring of the patient. The leader gives instructions and follows up to ensure that the staff acts on the guidelines. Monitoring the patient’s progress helps to evaluate on ways to improved their care while indirectly checking the staff performance.
Effective leadership lowers the rate of medical errors and the time that the patient stays in a health facility. For example, proper care of a patient’s wound, good patient advises, and controlling infections contributes to patient’s safety, which is a priority for leaders. Patients recover faster in health settings with effective nurse leaders that support teamwork compared to those that have poor leadership. Coordination of the nursing staff in patient care enables the patient to appreciate the efforts of the healthcare providers since they are satisfied by the nurse’s services. Patient satisfaction remains the top aim of any healthcare organization as well as part of the effective nursing practice.
Fight is bound to happen in any relationship and nurses cannot escape from them. Conflicts influence the capability of teams to join hands in work and hinders their performance. Communication gets affected since the members cannot agree on issues when there are conflicts. Effective leaders identify the conflicts at an early stage before they accelerate and cause damage that can be irreversible. They make quick decisions to deal with the problems at hand. For example, the leader may call for a meeting and the parties will discuss their grievances and difficulties openly. He guides the members in resolving their problems and agree on actual ways that will improve their relationships at work.
Leaders should consider certain behaviors in the nursing staff as sources of conflicts: unworthy behaviors such as bullying, aggression, and being defensive may lead to increase in employee turnover and reduce the compassion in work. It reflects on the patient’s outcomes since it compromises with the patient’s safety. An ineffective nurse leader can also cause conflicts by not monitoring the employees’ work and holding them accountable. Consistently making justifications about staff that does not cooperate without establishing a framework to solve issues makes a leader ineffective.
Effective leaders manage conflicts in creative ways that leaves everyone satisfied with the judgement. A team that knows their leader’s expectation is unlikely to have disagreements. The leader clarifies and constantly practices the expectations to all employees. Conveying truth and dignity while through communication with the staff helps to build respect in a team. An employee in need of advice or has a pressing issue, goes to a trusted leader for direction. An effective leader listens to the staff member without bias or making judgements. Conflict managers should analyze themselves to prevent solving problems depending on personal perceptions.
Staff motivation links to job satisfaction and retains employees for a long time. Healthy relationships encourage motivation among the nurses. Since stress cannot be avoided in any working environment, supporting and motivating the nurses helps to keep qualified staff. An effective leader motivates others by developing interest in the work of each staff. For example, listening to the nurses’ responses about patient care, working conditions, and other problems that they experience at work. Leaders create programs for the employees to voice different views and ideas and ask them for solutions. Therefore, the staff feel valued and work harder to provide quality healthcare.
The way a leader communicates to the staff nurses contributes to either motivation or demotivation. Positive communication creates a friendly working environment suitable necessary for improved performance. Empathetic nurse leaders pass the quality to the staff, which generates strong bonds at work. Effective leadership promotes mentorship roles within teams. Leaders can provide opportunities for other nurses to practice leadership by assigning a nurse to lead a meeting and involve others. It motivates them to work towards their career ang organizational goals.
The primary goal of effective leadership in nursing is to improve the quality of care provided to the patients. Patient satisfaction measures the quality levels. Most patients choose nurses that are ready to act on their needs. Patient experience involves the relationship between the patient and the health caregiver. Effective leadership ensures that patients are fully attended to at all times from admission, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Therapeutic care also adds to the list of patient experience. Patients mainly focus on the results after treatment that determines their safety. Nurse leaders examine the interaction that patients have with the staff, identify the gaps, make decisions, and implement them to guarantee patient satisfaction.
Effective nursing practice in healthcare is significant to facilitate the provision of high-quality patient care driven by nurses with good leadership skills and abilities. The leaders should communicate well with the staff, practice integrity through honesty and accountability, apply emotional intelligence when dealing with issues, and adopt the transformational leadership management style. Nurses provide health services directly to their patients and any medical error endangers the lives of many patients. Since quality patient care can be explained in terms of how nurses handle their patients, therefore, an ineffective nurse leader lowers the quality of patient care. Effective leadership impacts the nursing practice in a constructive way by improving the nurses’ motivation, managing conflicts, and producing positive patient outcomes through quality care. Click here to Place Your Order.
AL-Dossary. N, Reem. (2016). Leadership in nursing. DOI: 10.5772/65308. https://www.intechopen.com/books/contemporary-leadership-challenges/leadership-in-nursing
Henderson Amanda (2015). Leadership and communication: what are the imperatives. Nursing Management. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jonm.12336
NCBI (2004). Keeping patients safe: Transforming the work environment of nurses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216194/
NICE (2016). Workplace health: Management practices. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng13/resources/workplace-