Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:
- Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence, or research.
- Share an insight from having read your colleagues postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
- Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research
Nurses as Leaders in Health Care Reform
It continues to be a hot debate on the relationship between leadership and management, although there is clearly a significant difference between these two terms. Management skills are as essential as leadership skills when supporting an organization to set and achieve organizational goals. Not every nurse manager is a good leader, and those who demonstrate strong nursing leadership are not necessarily managers. (American Sentinel University, 2014). Management emphasizes control over hours, salaries, overtime, inventory, costs, and absence whereas leadership focuses on increased productivity by maximizing the effectiveness of the workforce. Therefore, every manager should be a leader to avoid chaos and failure while accomplishing set goals (Marquis & Huston, 2015).
A nurse manager is involved in daily tasks and details related to patient outcomes such as planning, quality improvement, goal setting, and budgeting. Managers also oversee staff performance, schedules, professional growth, and ongoing provision of educational enhancement opportunities. Most importantly, nurse managers are the source of guidance, encouragement, coaching, and training while offering clear communication, direction, and support (Williamson, 2017).
The director of critical care of my current workplace has demonstrated good management behaviors but has frequently lacked in her leadership role. Nurses in the critical care area have been very busy and must stay with their patient at all times which made it difficult to transport transferring patients off the unit. The director has used her management skills and has implemented a transport system to address this issue which allowed staff nurse to utilize to transfer patients out of the unit while being able to stay with their remaining patients. I have experienced a situation where she blamed the staff nurses for the delays of patients being transferred from the critical care area to the regular hospital floor. Staff nurses have the option to put in transport orders and a transport staff member comes and picks up the patient. Staff nurses have fulfilled all their duties, but the delay is that the transport staff is too backed up and shows up after a long period of time. However, the director has decided that the staff nurses are no longer allowed to utilize the transport system and need to move their own patients off the unit. She did not share this information with the staff nurses and only told the nurse manager to spread the information among the unit. As well, she did not give the staff nurses the opportunity to discuss this matter or to raise their concerns to her before making such significant decision.
Being an effective manager is about more than just driving staff nurses to work harder or more efficiently. Forcing employees to work a certain way can lead to resistance, breed disloyalty, creates a bad work climate, and can lead to a toxic work environment. Effective management skills include to be honest, consistency, listening, and have the ability to effectively communicate with their team. Nurse managers also need to be aware to publicly reward and recognize hard work, set goals together with the team, and encourages and considers all opinions and ideas to help staff members to enjoy work (DeMers, 2016).
The essence of leadership is to influence and motivate followers with their interpersonal behaviors and give their best to contribute to achieve goals with their best effort. Leaders also influence and guide directions, opinion, and ideas while taking the risks (Marquis & Huston, 2015).
The current nurse leader on my unit has demonstrated very strong and influencing leadership skills from the day I have started working there. I was very unsure of advancing my nursing career from a medical-surgical floor to the critical care area. She has encouraged me by telling me that I am a great nurse and that she is very sure that I will have the ability to adapt quickly to the new critical care nursing and its responsibilities and has sincerely listened to my concerns. She took my concerns and made them my strength by organizing several educational classes for me. As a nurse leader, she has seen my potential of being a great critical care nurse before I have recognized them myself. However, she has shown poor skills when managing staff members schedule. Often the unit was short a nurse because she has overlooked to schedule enough nurses, or too many nurses showed up for one shift. She also has a hard time keeping up with the whole units inventory and supplies. When staff nurse approaches her about a missing equipment or defective supplies which needed her approval for receiving new supplies or equipment, often took a long period of time because she loses track by managing so many other things with no organized system.
Leadership competencies are identified by knowledge and professional skills to successfully lead a group or organization. A good leader also demonstrates good leadership skills and behaviors such as communicating the groups vision and be committed with it, communicates and collaborates with changes, encourages and motivates staff members, empowers others, identifies common values, and inspires a team spirit to achieve goals or good performance (Marquis & Huston, 2015).