Nursing Leader Interview
The nurse manager of the cardiac rehabilitation unit has been a formal nurse leader for the past five years. The conversation began with a discussion about her personal leadership style and how it evolved from a knee jerk style to her current democratic style. Being a nurse leader requires adaptation and flexibility. Administration, Medicare, and certifying organizations require changes to be made frequently to improve patient care. These changes are often tied to service reimbursement, so they must be initiated swiftly. Many difficulties surround the role of leader in today’s health care. Being unprepared for a management role, avoiding micromanagement, and maintaining clinical competency were the biggest challenges identified during the transition and continuing role as nurse leader. Open communication was the key to overcoming the personal and professional challenges of being a leader. Formal and informal power influences the success of the organization and the role of a nurse manager. The nurse manager identified administration as a formal leader. Patients and her staff were recognized as informal leaders. Maintaining an open relationship with both formal and informal leaders is essential to achieving the organizations mission. Leadership Style
As a successful nurse leader the nurse manager of the cardiac rehabilitation unit describes her style of leadership as democratic. According to Marriner Tomey (2009) “Democratic leaders maintain less control; ask questions and make suggestions rather than issue orders; and get the group involved in planning, problem solving, and decision making (p. 182). Staff must attend 75% of all staff meetings according to the union contract, these meetings are offered every month. During these meeting and during day-to-day activities she encourages the staff to verbalize their ideas and is open to implementing these ideas in hopes of improving everyone’s work environment and patient satisfaction. The department appreciates her openness and feels comfortable making suggestions for improvement. She confesses that she stills struggles with not falling back to her initial style of leadership; a knee jerk reaction. A leader using knee jerk leadership will respond to situations quickly without gathering enough information to make an informed decision or will make decisions based on current emotion rather than fact (Azaare & Gross, 2011). This often leads to feelings of remorse and regret. She reports that after a knee jerk reaction she realizes what has happened and apologies to the employee involved, and makes a conscious decision not to repeat the offense. Being a leader means acting with integrity; doing the right thing and apologizing when necessary. Adaptation
In addition to a change in leadership style the nurse manager also has adapted too many changes in her leadership role such as comfort with delegation, meeting goals of administration, and maintains certifications necessary for the department particularly the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) certification. The cardiac rehabilitation department is in a constant state of change because new guidelines for AACVPR and Medicare are issues almost monthly. Both the certification and Medicare guidelines tie into reimbursement so staying abreast of the changes and instituting them in the department requires the leader and employees to adapt. Administration dictates new policy and budget guidelines that a nurse leader must adapt to while preserving a solid working relationship with the staff and maintaining patient safety and satisfaction. Instituting so many changes to a department can and does cause stress and anxiety. If changes are not communicated effectively chaos ensues as employees struggle to understand their new expectations. To be a successful leader in today’s healthcare system one must be flexible, willing to adapt to frequent changes, and communicate effectively....
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