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The topic selected for the research is the critical analysis of the roles of nurse navigators, clinical nurse leaders, and leaders in patient-centered care. The said topic is important for several reasons. First, the developments in the field of nursing in recent decades have created a respective expansion of the roles and responsibilities pertinent to nurses. At this point, it is important to understand that such an outcome is an inevitable side effect of the evolution that the concept of nursing currently undergoes.
However, it is also important to recognize the undesirable effects associated with the phenomenon, such as the lack of recognition of responsibilities within specific areas, conflicts of interests, and, by extension, the decline in both individual and organizational performance (McInnes, Peters, Bonney, & Halcomb, 2015). Therefore, the issue is not to be ignored since its resolution can be beneficial on the organizational scale as well as for individual stakeholders.
Leadership and Management
Second, the concept of leadership, which has garnered recognition as a cornerstone of the organizational development process, continues to be misunderstood and misused by some of its proponents. In the current situation, several roles that incorporate leadership as one of the primary aspects of the employees’ activities have been introduced into the nursing field. In the current form, some of the characteristic features of these roles interconnect or overlap while others are understandably different.
Combined with the inherent complexity of the nursing profession, such a situation will likely contribute to confusion at the administrative and managerial levels. Also, it is possible to anticipate a certain amount of misattribution of the responsibilities both on the part of the practitioners and their colleagues, further undermining the efficiency of the innovation in question.
The first of the roles identified as requiring additional insight is that of the nurse navigator. According to the consensus, the role is intended to offer guidance to the patients and assist them in the healthcare process. Such an approach is justified considering the growing complexity of the healthcare system which becomes less approachable to an unprepared person. Simultaneously, the existing knowledge in support of the benefits of patient involvement makes it reasonable to expect the trend to continue in the identified direction (Brett et al., 2014). Simply put, a nursing navigator in its current form will grow in both demand and significance in the short term.
The second role is that of a clinical nurse leader. The increasing demand for the quality of care has created a need for consistent improvement of nursing proficiencies and skills, which has been addressed by the introduction of clinical nurse educators. However, the ongoing shortcomings in the safety of health care have identified the need for workers who could facilitate leadership at the point of care. In other words, the clinical nursing leader is someone who combines the educational and guidance capacities of the nursing educators while at the same time having the necessary degree of involvement with the care delivery practices and experience characteristic for advanced practice registered nurses. Also, clinical nurse leaders are expected to enable knowledge sharing, promote interdisciplinary relationships, and improve the workplace climate.
The third role in question is that of leaders in patient-centered care. Currently, patient-centered care is recognized as both a necessary and beneficial component of quality in health care delivery. However, its adoption at the organizational level remains a challenging task due to the resistance to change, insufficient understanding of costs and benefits associated with it, and lack of clarity regarding the approaches to it (Cliff, 2012). The leaders in patient-centered care are expected to address the identified issues by assisting the stakeholders at each organizational level with the process and offering guidance and counseling.
As can be seen, the roles contain intersection points – most notably, all of them rely on practices specific to the domain of leadership while addressing the issues. Also, all roles incorporate education, counseling, and encourage intra-organizational interactions. However, it is also evident that each role targets a specific area of health care – nurse navigators are oriented towards interaction with the patients whereas clinical nurse leaders engage in nurses’ professional development, and leaders in patient-centered care deal with change primarily at the administrative and managerial level. Thus, aside from the unreasonable expectations, the misattribution of the roles may lead to improper resource allocation, setbacks in performance, unfavorable patient outcomes, and an overall decrease in the quality of care.
The selected topic applies to several course competencies. Most prominently, it helps integrating concepts related to lead into the professional nursing role. While all of the roles in question are expected to incorporate leadership practices as a part of their responsibilities, a comprehensive inquiry will likely identify the areas where leadership is equally relevant for the majority of nursing roles and specialties, thus enhancing the understanding of the matter. Second, since all of the roles in question rely on interaction with the personnel, the research will identify the beneficial effects of collaborative leadership styles and illustrate how it may enhance the role of a nurse leader. In addition to clarifying the issue at hand, it will broaden the scope of application of leadership practices throughout the nursing domain.
Brett, J., Staniszewska, S., Mockford, C., Herron‐Marx, S., Hughes, J., Tysall, C., & Suleman, R. (2014). Mapping the impact of patient and public involvement on health and social care research: A systematic review. Health Expectations, 17(5), 637-650.
Cliff, B. (2012). Patient‐centered care: The role of healthcare leadership. Journal of Healthcare Management, 57(6), 381-383.
McInnes, S., Peters, K., Bonney, A., & Halcomb, E. (2015). An integrative review of facilitators and barriers influencing collaboration and teamwork between general practitioners and nurses working in general practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(9), 1973-1985.