LEADERSHIP IN NURSING
Nursing is a very demanding and dedicated profession and the current shortage is a serious problem at all levels of nursing and is the dearth of leaders among nurses. Leadership and management are essential skills for all qualified healthcare professionals and have a pivotal role in ensuring a delivery of high standards of care. Developing future nurse leaders is one of the greatest challenges faced by the nursing profession, (Mahoney, 2001).
The author is currently working as a midwife in one of the big hospitals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The average deliveries per month are 500-600. There are 22 midwives in this unit and there are eight vacant posts for midwives .Due to the shortage of midwives, these professional staffs are subjected to personal and work related stress. Preston et, al. (1981) defined stress as an adaptive response, mediated by individual characteristics or psychological processes. The negative effects of stress could be evident in staff absenteeism, hostility, and aggression. This will impair the provision of quality care and the effective functioning of the organization. (Healy & McKay, 1999). The adverse effect of workload and stress in the author’s placement has lead to an alarming high staff turnover. Apparently, the increased workload has affected the staff performances and the quality of nursing care. When the staff feel that they are not cared for, then they find it difficult to care for patients ( Atwater & Bass 1994, Lancaster 1999).
In this assignment, the author will explore the various leadership styles and their theories and also distinguish the functions between leadership and management. The author will also critically explore the manager’s leadership practice in labor and delivery suite, thus creating a culture of reducing stress. The link of leadership style from the aspect of work, environment, communication, empowerment, delegation, implications, conclusion and recommendations will be discussed further. Leaders are not someone who holds top position but also able to give assistance to others, (Mahoney, 2001). Whereas in my placement, the head nurse, who is the leader, never gives a helping hand during the deliveries. She anticipates the midwives to conduct and manage the deliveries, even though there’s shortage of staff. The nurse manager has to prepare the correct number of staff on each shift with the credentials to do the job and must be aware of the policies regarding overtime, floating from one unit to another. She must form a competent team and manage them to carry out the plan for reaching the goal of excellent patient care. Effective leaders are not merely someone who is skillful but they must acquire good attitudes, (Cook, 2001). The nurse manager must understand the factors surrounding the current situation in the unit and have the knowledge of various approaches to leadership that will help to understand and determine the best leadership approach to create a positive work environment to reduce stress. Leadership is defined as the ability to influence, inspire and motivate a group of people towards the achievement of its goal, (Yuki, 2002). Management is a process of getting things done effectively through planning and organization of services which is one of the basic function of management whereas the leader is an intermediary between work group and the top management, (Marquis and Huston, 2006). The manager uses a formal and rational method whilst the leader uses passions and stirs emotions. Without enabling and empowering nursing leadership, efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare will be limited and short-lived, as said by Kelly (2008). For a leader to achieve...
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