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The Importance of Effective Nursing Leadership Today
Today, the nursing profession is under unprecedented pressures to deliver high quality patient-centered care in the wake of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. In far too many instances, nurses are being overwhelmed on the front lines of patient care, and it may be weeks or even months before the peak of the pandemic is fully experienced. Against this backdrop, identifying ways that professional nurses can help achieve this goal by assuming appropriate leadership roles has assumed new importance and relevance. To determine the facts, the purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the relevant literature, including the student handbook, to describe the importance of leadership for professional nursing practice. Finally, a summary of the research and important findings about professional nursing practice and leadership are presented in the paper’s conclusion.
Review and Discussion
In some ways, the nursing profession is unique because it calls upon virtually all professional nurses to be prepared to “hit the ground running” in a leadership role from day one of their career. For example, Standard 12 of the student handbook, “Leadership,” clearly states that, “The registered nurse demonstrates leadership in the professional practice setting and the profession” (p. 47). In addition, the student handbook also stipulates that one of the core competencies for patient-centered care includes “assuming the role of . . . leader based on the situation” (p. 52). Likewise, the American Nurses Association (ANA) also emphasizes that, “Leadership is an integral part of the nursing profession” (ANA leadership and governance, 2020, para. 4).
Taken together, these professional requirements therefore beg the question concerning what attributes constitute sound and effective leadership in the nursing profession. In this regard, a study by Delgado and Mitchell (2016) identified the top leadership qualities of nurses as including: (a) integrity, (b) communication clarity, and (c) problem-solving ability while the most common challenges that were identified for nursing leaders included (a) finding qualified practitioners, (b) scarce resources, and (c) team building efforts. It is interesting that nursing knowledge and experience do not appear on this list, suggesting that the qualities that exemplify nursing leadership do not necessarily involve direct patient care but rather understanding the “big picture” that is involved in its provision.…
…part of effective nursing leadership. For instance, according to Melionities (2015), “Burnout, dealing with absenteeism and reducing staff tensions takes careful skill [because] nursing is very demanding as a profession” (para. 8). Consequently, celebrating minor successes and rewarding top performance are also critical elements in effective nursing leadership. As Melionities concludes, “As a leader, you should seize every opportunity to motivate people by recognizing their worth, services or contributions” (2015, para. 8).
Given its importance to the provision of high quality patient care, it is not surprising that the subject of nursing leadership has been the focus of a growing body of scholarship in recent decades. The research was consistent in highlighting the centrality of nursing leadership as part of the profession, and that all nurses are expected to serve in a leadership capacity depending on the situation. Some of the more noteworthy findings to emerge from the review of the literature were the fact that studies concerning effective nursing leadership from decades ago largely remain relevant today and that leadership is something that can be taught and learned. These findings mean that even novice nurses should…
ANA leadership and governance. (2020). American Nurses Association. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/ana/leadership-and-governance/.
Delgado, C. & Mitchell, M. M. (2016, January-February). A survey of current valued academic leadership qualities in nursing. Nursing Education Perspectives, 37(1), 10-13.
Meliniotis, C. (2015, March 30). Effective nursing leadership. Elite Healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.elitecme.com/resource-center/nursing/effective-nursing-leadership/.
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