Leadership styles in professional nursing
Every single day, nurses work very hard in order to provide the best health care to patients. This is a very important goal in nursing and the best approach to achieving this goal is through the nurse manger sticking to a particular style of leadership. In the field of nursing, there are numerous styles of leadership that a nurse manger could adhere to. Two of these leadership styles that are going to be discussed in this paper include the transformational leadership and transactional leadership (Sullivan & Decker, 2001). This paper intends to discuss these two mentioned leadership styles in the nursing profession and shows how each is implemented in professional nursing practice. In addition to this it also describes specific examples in which these nursing leadership styles could enhance or diminish professional nursing practice.
Leadership could generally be defined as the process where an individual would be in a position of influence within a well structured and organized group (Laurent, 2000). In the profession of nursing, leadership is normally offered by the nurse manger or the matron. As indicated above there are two styles of leadership that could be applied in professional nursing. The first style is transformational leadership. This leadership style entails creating change or transformation within a system. In the field of nursing this leadership style would see that all practicing nurses and nurse manger are working together to ensure that the overall objective of the profession is met (Laurent, 2000). The leaders have to transform the followers by ensuring that they motivated in their work and are very much aware of what is expected of them.
The leader who uses the transformational style of leadership has to ensure that all the nurses within a health facility have the interest of the institution and of the patient at heart and places them before personal interest (Laurent, 2000). The leader also ensures that the nurses and their needs are activated. The challenge for nursing leaders in transformational style of leadership is it to ensure that they share the vision of the profession and the institution in which they are based with all the nursing employees and to come up with a good strategy of achieving the vision and the goals. Once the vision is developed, it is still the duty of the leader nurse to translate the vision into practical actions (Laurent, 2000).
To implement this style of leadership the nurse leader is supposed to ensure that it occurs in achievable steps. For there to be a tangible change within any organization, it takes a process. The biggest role of the nursing leader in ensuring that this leadership style works within an institution is to remain positive and optimistic that the set vision will work. At the same time the leader is supposed to ensure that the all the nurses in the institution are inspired to achieve the goals and see the vision come to pass. There are several technological devises that are expected of both new nurses and old nurses to use and to familiarize themselves with (Sofarelli & Brown, 1998). A leader will ensure that all the nurses are able to use the technological devises comfortably without any hitches. The whole idea of leadership is aimed at helping all the nurses develop further their nursing skills and to use them appropriately for the benefit of both the patient and the institution (Sullivan & Decker, 2001).
The second style of leadership that is applicable in the field of nursing is transactional leadership style. In this style of leadership, the leader makes various assumptions of the people whom he or she is leading. The main aim of this style of leadership is to ensure that people are motivated to work using whatever means possible. The most common means employed are through rewards and punishment. In as much as the leader is supposed to interact with the nurses, he or she would assume that it is through rewards and punishment that the nurses could be motivated (Sofarelli & Brown, 1998). Another common assumption is that people, nurses in this case, work best when there is a clear chain of command within an institution. Without the chain of command, the nurses would fail to meet their role and objectives expected of them to meet the overall objective of the institution (Sofarelli & Brown, 1998).
Working to implement this style of leadership ensures that there be clear structures that define exactly what is expected of each and every nurse within a medical facility (Laurent, 2000). These structures stipulate the work of all the nurses starting from the top nurse to other common nurses. The structures put in place also identify and states clearly what sort of punishment and rewards is expected of those who perform well in their duty and those who make gross mistakes in the duties. Once a new nurse gets absorbed into an institution he or she will have no choice but to surrender to the existing authority already established within that particular institution.
Transactional style of leadership may be considered a not so interesting style of leadership as it encourages authoritarianism but it works as long as there is order and mutual respect of both the leader and the subordinate. When a piece of work is allocated to a specific nurse, then the nurse is responsible for the outcome of the duty. The leader only expects that the duty will be completed and done well.
Leadership in nursing is a crucial skill because with the entry of new nurses into the field, it is expected of them that they be conversant with the working environment. The staff workers are the ones who need to this skill most because they involve themselves in decision making on daily basis. They get to decide when it is appropriate to engage a doctor and when it is not (Sofarelli & Brown, 1998). They also get to decide the appropriate time to offer a specific treatment. Making such decision appropriately requires that the staff nurse be accorded the right environment that supports these activities. It is through transformational style of leadership that a practicing nurse can be able to make such decisions comfortably. It is clear to the staff nurse what is expected to do so long as the interest of the patient and the institution is placed at heart before personal interest. Developing an initiative attitude is almost impossible with transactional style of leadership (Sofarelli & Brown, 1998). All that the staff nurses do is to follow instructions of what their leaders have said. They cannot go beyond what they are told.
Leaderships as discussed in the paper require one to be in a position of influence within a well structured organization. It provides one with the necessary skills especially in the nursing field for ensuring that the overall goals of nursing are met. The leader nurse is expected to create a good environment for the staff nurses and other subordinate nurses to ensure that every one is comfortable with their work.
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