On Senior Nursing Leadership

There are a lot of articles published in journals, both online and in paper, tackling nursing leadership, its importance, and its presumed role in the hospital and community. An article by Andrew Frankel, hospital director of Churchill Girburn Clinic, entitled “What leadership style should senior nurses develop?” published on the 35th issue of the 104th volume of the Nursing Times, discussed the possible leadership styles that senior nurses may adopt in order to be more effective in their roles.

According to the said article, leadership is doing right things for the attainment of a common or shared goal. This elusive goal need to be communicated to the team to achieve a collaborated and well-determined action plan that will help them arrive at a positive outcome. This, to be achieved, need a leader who possess characteristics that will drive the body to work and pursue the goal at hand.

Leaders are normally seen as “influential” individuals who show compassion, integrity, determination, and among others. Moreover, a leader should be able to motivate and inspire others. It was said that anyone who is empowered tend to show or give the best that he or she has to offer. This, in turn, will help in the development and attainment of best practice models especially when a supportive environment is established.

A leader should also be able to see and treat each person as an individual who have unique needs. These needs must be addressed as everyone “will not perform at the same level or respond in the same way to environmental stressors or workplace pressure.” Leaders, then, should support their members in ways that will help them realize their worth and full potentials.

It is expected from a leader to “pass down” these traits and strategies. One way is to do mentoring. The author suggests that senior nurses allot a few minutes of their time mentoring their staff. This will not only help build deeper relationships and move camaraderie among the members of the team, but it will help prepare young nurses when they assume the same role.

The three leadership models that senior nurses can adopt include the Transactional, Transfomational models and another that’s proposed by Adair in 2002. The transactional model is best used for short-term goals. It is episodic and task-based and that the leader only focuses on negative feedback interventions directed to what is perceived to be wrong. The transformational model, on one hand, alters the individual goals of the staff or members to arrive at a unified purposive goal that will benefit the profession. The last model proposed by Adair has three parts namely, the task, the individual, and the team. With enough knowledge and skills, the leader will be able to address the needs of these three and thereby harmoniously engage all of them to support and act on shared goals.

With a common goal, a supportive environment, and a goal-driven senior nurse exhibiting the qualities and traits of an effective leader, attaining better outcomes of patient care is not far from imaginable.

Though I am not a senior nurse, I found this journal article interesting because I wanted to know what are the things that one should do in order to become an effective leader. I believe a leader does not need to have a high ranking position and that anyone has the capacity to act as a leader only if he has the will to do so and a supportive environment is made available.

What I like best from the article is that the author conveys the importance of knowing the individual and unique needs of a person. The leader, the senior nurse, is tasked to let her members perceive the needs of others and thereby work for their attainment.

Senior nurses, as well staff nurses, should be trailblazers of genuine leadership turning needs into advocacies. We should be able to influence our co-workers in order for the whole team to progress in the journey towards the unified goal of achieving better patient care outcomes. After all, we are there for and with the patient most of the time. This long chance of patient-nurse interaction warrant not a sublime but a progressive work fueled by a supportive working environment.


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