How the Registered Nurse Uses Various Leadership Styles to Achieve
Critically analyse and discuss how the registered nurse as team leader uses various leadership styles (minimum 3 styles) to achieve quality care. Consider how those leadership styles impact care delegation, teaching and leading others to ensure quality standards are achieved. Identify and describe the RN Standards of Practice (2016) in relation to each of the following three NSQHS standards; 2,3 & 6 as demonstrated through teaching and leading to ensure quality patient care.
The achievement of positive patient needs in healthcare is what forms the core of professional nursing practice. For any registered nurse to attain these objectives then, they not only require the skills and knowledge that are essential in making patients get better as fast as possible, but also the leadership skills that would enable the Registered Nurse (RN) to harness the potential of other nurses in a bid to offer the quality care that every patient deserves. As a registered nurse in Australia, the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Quality and Safety Standards are the blueprint upon which the nurse relies to offer protection to the public from harm and improve the quality of service provision. This paper considers three leadership styles in nursing (transformational, democratic and servant leadership) and how the RN can make use of them to provide quality care to the patient. In the same regard, the paper evaluates the registered nurse as a team leader, considering the manner in which the nurse leader can apply the RN Standards of practice through teaching and leading to make sure that the patient gets that care that he or she deserves. The nurse as a team leader has the responsibility of ensuring that the standards of practice as stipulated in the NSQHS are followed to the latter, and that through the leadership of the nurse, the patients are able to receive the quality care they need.
Democratic Leadership in Nursing
As a team leader, the registered nurse may make use of democratic leadership in making sure that quality service is eventually delivered. This is whereby the leader welcomes and encourages the team to make contributions in the decision-making process (Allafchi, 2017). For this leader, then, relationships are the supreme elements and the leader strives to make sure that that within the care context, the team members are comfortable enough to air their opinions, raise their concerns and voice their ideas. But this leader does not just stop here. Because communication has been initiated with this leader, the leader makes sure that they offer feedback to the team as the fundamental belief too is that communication goes both ways. Through these mentioned ways, the democratic leader makes the team feel that they are valued and comfortable while they speak up. Since they are sure that no one will victimize them, and that their ideas will be assessed based on their expertise rather than seniority they, therefore, become willing to speak their mind and meaningfully contribute to high quality care (Abraham & Scaria, 2017).
In terms of care delegation, such leadership requires that the team members determine what they are most confident and comfortable doing within the care process. Given that their satisfaction and input is valued, the team members also make suggestions on the manner in which the delegation itself ought to be done. As a leader of a team that values democracy, the RN does not simply instruct, he or she inquires and consults. It has often been observed that this method of leadership can be detrimental in nursing, a field whereby the ability to act fast may be the difference between life and death (Murray, 2018). The RN may then remain ruing lost chances and opportunities. This notwithstanding, the democratic nurse leader instils confidence in the team, allowing them to meaningfully contribute towards offering quality care.
Servant Leadership in Nursing
Servant leadership is another leadership style that the RN can make use of as a team leader. In leadership, the influence and motivation by the leaders is seen through the manner in which they build relationships and develop the skills for individual team members. The RN who leans towards servant leadership is first and foremost, drawn to service. It is this that pushes them to lead. The development of skills for the servant nurse leader would be seen through the manner in which this leader shows positive regard for every team member through providing them with the resources and tools necessary for them to offer quality service (Caillier, 2020). If, for instance, the servant leader realizes that a team member cannot offer care services because of fatigue or personal stress, the leader goes to lengths to either replace them in their shifts or even work on their behalf. By doing this, the servant leader prevents the possibility of medical errors occurring and also builds the relationship between the leader himself and the team member.
Delegation in servant leadership relies on the capability of the RN to provide the right example that can be followed by those in their teams. The servant leader prioritizes leading by example. The empathy and desire to set the best example which is the priority principles they live by are seen in the manner in which they assign duties to the nurses within the various teams. What these leaders teach in their leadership roles and style is that for quality services to be offered, then setting a good example and meeting the individual needs of team members is essential. An empowered individual team member possesses the capacity to use the specialities and resources they have at their disposal to improve the quality of the patient (Neville, Conway, Maglione, Connolly, Foley & Re, 2021).
Transformational Leadership in Nursing
The final leadership style in this regard is transformational leadership (Fischer, 2017). The transformational team leader is one that keeps motivating employees to not only embrace their duties but also take ownership of the roles they are given. Fletcher, Friedman and Piedimonte (2018) say that transformational leadership favours the bottom up approach rather than the top bottom approach. The nurses within the teams encourage their team members to be willing to think creatively and act decisively rather than simply wait for instructions. These leaders are often quiet and prefer to lead by example. The RN that favours transformational leadership believes that quality service and safety relies on the collective ability of the team as a whole to be capable of harnessing individual critical decision-making skills and problem-solving. When individuals are free to make decisions in their assigned roles, they can understand the pressure, experience the pain that comes with increased expectations (Ha & Pepin, 2018; Hall, 2017).
In transformational leadership, delegation is perhaps one of the most important features for the nurse leader. In this regard, the RN assigns responsibilities to nurses, and the nurses within the care teams then have the responsibility to assess situations, make decisions and communicate such critically thought out decisions to their leader. The RN leader then encourages the taking of personal responsibility and promotes independent decision-making. The RN as a transformational leader teaches others to enhance their thinking instead of waiting for others on top of the hierarchical chain to communicate for them what to do in which situations. The team members are encouraged to co-ordinate, rely on evidence-based practise and make those decisions that are for the good of the patient. One of the major advantages of this type of leadership is that it constantly challenges the people involved to find better ways of doing things. In so doing, they then can constantly find great ways of conflict resolution.
RN Standards of Practice
The very first standard for the registered nurse is that the nurse thinks critically and analyses nursing practice. What this essentially means is that while the foundational knowledge that the nurse receives is important, it is in no way definitive. The registered nurse constantly thinks of ways of improving both themselves and their filed of practice through increased knowledge, experience and application of known procedures. In line with preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infection, the nurse thinks of creative ways through which healthcare-associated infections could be controlled and potentially eliminated in the healthcare setting. This involves offering suggestions and potential solutions that are practical and workable. In terms of communication for safety, this standard involves promoting novel communication ways and interactive mechanisms between the patients and the healthcare staff.
Engagement in therapeutic and professional relations is the next standard. This standard calls on the registered nurse to promote acceptable professional relations between the patient and the medical staff. This entails ensuring that the method of care and the chosen plan has respect for the patient’s condition, beliefs, physical and psychological shape (Cummings, Tate, Lee, Wong, Paananen, Micaroni & Chatterjee, 2018). This standard has a lot in line with partnering with consumers standard as it calls on the patient-centred care approach whereby the patient is not simply an onlooker in the care process but partners in their own care. The nursing leader has to ensure that the nurse teams offer therapeutic and professional relations with the patients with regard to their role in their own well-being.
The next standard is maintaining the capability for practice. This is important for nurse leadership in the sense that there has to be an ethical and logical balance between the theory and practice for the team members to maintain their ability to keep practicing. Communication is one way in which the ethical side of practice is revealed. It has to be seen that the registered nurse maintains acceptable methods of polite and compassionate communication in a bid to involve the patient and their support systems as much as possible.
Bahadori, Peyrovi, Ashghali-Farahani, Hajibabaee and Haghani (2018) assert that as a leader, the registered nurse has to ensure that the standard of comprehensively conducting assessments is adhered to by all within the team. The physical, emotional and psychological implications that can be seen when comprehensive assessments are not made for the patient can be massive. This then calls on all within the nursing teams to make sure that the patients are thoroughly assessed through constant communication, physical assessments and protection from healthcare infections. The nurse leader would have to ensure that there are specified roles, clear delegation and designation of roles. Since the patient is the single most important stakeholder in their process of recovery, the RN leadership then has to prioritize their involvement in terms of decision-making and even the recommended assessments. Only through this would a comprehensive recovery process be executed.
The development of a plan for nursing practice is the next standard. Any care situation deserves to have a nursing plan that is a result of the consultations from everyone concerned in the care process of the patient. In the formation of the care plan, the RN leadership ensures that everyone’s opinion is sought after and implemented. More than this though, there arises the need to look at the one at the core of the nursing process—the patient. This then calls on the RN to develop a plan that is responsive to the individual demands of the patient and also that in inclusive of the recommendations of everyone involved in the care of the patient. The plan has to also respond to the need to protect the patient from any potential hazards within the healthcare setting itself that may compromise the patient’s health.
In addition, developing safe, appropriate and responsive quality nursing practice is an essential standard. This means that the nursing environment has to make sure that the recommended care practices do not harm the patient further causing them needless deterioration (Cabral, Oram & Allum, 2019). What has to be done by the leadership is the guidance in terms of deciding on the finer elements of care so that the practice is not only appropriate to the condition addressed but also responsive to the individual needs of the patients themselves.
The final standard is the evaluation of outcomes to inform nursing practice (Cashin, Heartfield, Bryce, Devey, Buckley, Cox & Fisher, 2017). In any functional system, feedback is key. This feedback, in the nursing context, is provided by the communication that is initiated and sustained both ways by the RN. It is through the RN that needs are communicated, shortfalls realized and holes plugged within the context of the care plan. This therefore means that the communication has to be open, frank and reachable so that the patients may be able to communicate their needs and desires whenever it is appropriate. Evaluation is also done to ensure that safety of patients is guaranteed and risks like potential healthcare infections are kept at bay.
In conclusion, it is true that leadership in nursing can take various forms. It can be democratic, servant or transformational. Regardless of which leadership style it is, one thing that is essential is that standards need to be maintained in the process of service delivery to all patients. Putting patients at the centre of the healthcare process means that the RN leaders and the teams with which they work persistently work to ensure that the leadership styles they choose help them in the implementation of the recommended standards for quality service delivery.
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